LAWS3401/JURD7301 HEALTH AND MEDICAL LAW

Lecturer: Jennifer Moore

What is the course about?

The course is about the fascinating intersections between the legal system and the health system. The course is called Health and Medical Law because we discuss traditional medical law topics such as professional liability in negligence and we also consider health law topics such as public health law. We cover a range of topics such as abortion, emerging technologies, the regulation of public health emergencies, professional liability of health practitioners, end of life, coroners, food regulation, elder law, cloning, human tissue etc.

Why does the subject interest you?

I love this course because we discuss how the law can be a powerful prevention tool. For example, robust public health laws can improve population health outcomes. Health lawyers play an important role in harnessing the law to advance health and safety efforts. I also love health law because it covers a range of topics and allows us to delve into doctrinal, empirical and normative questions e.g. “What is the law? Should this be the law? How should we reform the law?”

I am trained in medical sciences (e.g. PhD in epidemiology) and law. I combine these fields to specialise in health law and torts (particularly medical malpractice). Prior to joining UNSW Law, I was a Harkness Fellow in Healthcare Policy at Stanford and Harvard and worked as a Senior Lecturer in the Medical Faculty at the University of Otago. Given my qualifications and experience, all topics that fall under the health law umbrella are of great interest to me!

Do you have any advice to give to students who are interested in taking this course?

Yes, enrol in the course! I would love to meet you!

How will this course be relevant in the future?

This course is highly relevant right now! Health Law is a burgeoning area with increasing demand from the sector. In class, we spend one day on “controversies and hot topics”. I select topics that are topical at the time e.g. abortion law reform, the regulation of global public health emergencies, euthanasia etc.

Student: Angelina Yurlova

I thoroughly enjoyed Health and Medical Law and would definitely recommend it to anyone currently in the (painstaking) process of deciding which law electives they should take. Health and Medical Law covers a broad range of interesting and ‘hot’ topics from food regulation and abortion to mental health and emerging technologies. Such a multidisciplinary approach gives an in-depth overview of the field and, chances are, there is a topic for everyone! I found the course to be a nice tie-in of a number of areas of law that I previously studied, particularly torts and criminal law. However, you should not be discouraged if you don’t have a science or medical background as I combine with Arts and personally found the content to be very accessible. Jen Moore and the guest lecturers (including Chris Forster who will be taking the subject in semester two) were absolutely amazing and ensured that the content was always diverse and engaging. The course encourages active student participation, which created a really fun learning environment and there were a lot of thought-provoking discussions in class. I found that the course really challenged me to grapple with the normative and regulatory framework of the health space and, as a result, I was able to obtain a better conceptual understanding of the discipline as a whole. Health and Medical Law has definitely been one of my favourite law subjects in my degree and I encourage you to try it for yourself ­– you won’t regret it!

Student: Scott Holt

Without a doubt this has been the most interesting subject of my degree so far. Nearly every topic is steeped with ethical and public policy dilemmas and considerations, and some can be very controversial. The topics covered range from euthanasia policy, abortion, wrongful birth, regulation of nanomedicines, assisted reproduction and cloning, public health emergencies (EBOLA, SARS), medical negligence, mental health law, civil and criminal liability of health professionals, food regulation, and much more. You really do get a sense of how the law interacts with the health and medical space in nearly every conceivable way. If nothing else, it is fantastic general knowledge with juicy topics. It is intensive (6 full days over the semester). Don’t be dissuaded by the 30% CP. The format of the classes is very conversational. It is not a typical ‘black letter law’ course, though where pertinent, the relevant legislation and cases are examined. Much of it is public policy. So it is easy to participate, as many of the topics will be familiar to people even on a superficial level. The assessment (70% problem + essay take home) was really fair and actually quite interesting. The two people who teach the course (Jen Moore and Chris Forster) are both incredible lecturers with a lot of enthusiasm for the subject matter. Could not recommend more highly. Do it!