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Health and Medical Law - LAWS3401
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Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  Faculty of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Undergraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 4
Enrolment Requirements:
Prerequisite: LAWS1001 and LAWS1011 and Corequisite: LAWS2311; Prerequisite: JURD7101 and JURD7111 and Corequisite: JURD7211
Excluded: JURD7301
CSS Contribution Charge:Band 3 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


Health and Medical Law is a relatively new and growing discipline in Australia. This subject aims to provide a sound introduction to the law relevant to the health system, the delivery of health services and related scientific and technological developments. There is no one discrete area of law involved. Rather, several different areas of law apply, including torts, contract, discrimination law, criminal law, trade practices, equity, administrative law as well as substantial statutory provisions.

Recommended Prior Knowledge

LAWS1052 Foundations of Law; LAWS1061 Torts; LAWS1001 Criminal Law 1 and LAWS1011 Criminal Law 2

Course Objectives

  • To provide a sound introduction to the law relevant to the health system, the delivery of health services and related scientific and technological developments
  • To develop skills in evaluating the effectiveness of international treaties and domestic legislation that regulate health related areas
  • Demonstrate an ability to think critically and to justify ideas in a reasoned manner
  • To develop skills in communicating effectively, in speaking and in writing
  • To gain an understanding of the possible career paths available for lawyers interested in the field of health and medical law
  • To develop the skill to Identify appropriate areas for legal research
  • To conduct advanced level legal research and writing

Main Topics

  • patient rights (international and domestic)
  • battery
  • medical negligence
  • Aboriginal health
  • confidentiality and privacy
  • access to medical records
  • the Human Tissue Act
  • HIV/AIDS, genetics
  • assisted reproductive technology
  • end of life decision-making/euthanasia
  • mental health


Class Participation. 30% Class participation will be based on the following criteria: class attendance, preparation for classes (including evidence of reading, analysis and understanding of the prescribed materials) and active engagement in all classes plus a short presentation during the course.

Take Home Assignment. 70%. The assignment will consist of a problem question worth 50% of the mark for the paper and an research essay question worth 50% of the mark for the assignment.

Course Texts

Course materials provided by the Law School.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.