The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


5000 level

Course handbook


This course introduces students to key legal and policy topics relevant to the delivery of health care and the conduct of biomedical research. Key topics include: legal foundations of the health care system; negligence and patient safety; consent to health care; privacy and confidentiality of health information; genetics; human reproductive technologies; public health, including infectious and chronic disease control; allocation of health care resources; research involving human participants; and decision-making at the end of life. The course focuses on the contemporary Australian context and incorporates some international comparative material.

Availability2020 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 2 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Explain key legal principles relevant to the fields of health law studied in this course, including principles of negligence, consent, privacy and confidentiality, and regulation.

2. Apply legal principles to a range of health law problems.

3. Compare and contrast different legal and policy approaches to addressing health law problems.

4. Critique and justify options for law reform to address controversial areas in health law and policy.

5. Communicate effectively in writing and orally in a manner consistent with conventions of the legal discipline.


The topics covered in this course are: 

  1. Legal and ethical foundations of the Australian health care system
  2. Consent to and refusal of medical treatment
  3. Health care liability, negligence and patient safety
  4. Health care and criminal law
  5. Conception, birth, and reproductive technologies
  6. Mental health law
  7. Regulation of health practitioners
  8. Law and public health
  9. Health care information
  10. Research involving human participants
  11. End of life, right to health care


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws and associated combined degree programs or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and associated combined degree programs.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS1001A, LAWS1001B, LAWS1002A, LAWS1002B, LAWS2003A, LAWS2003B, LAWS3004A, LAWS3004B, LAWS3005.

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Written Assignment

In Term Test: Take home exam

Participation: Class Participation

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct


Face to Face Off Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term