Foundations of Medical Law

Subject LAWS70223 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2016.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment:

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit:


For more information:

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

Health law is concerned with the regulatory problems of healthcare delivery. While traditionally focused on issues concerning contract law and tort law, health law has continued to grow into a much larger field, touching on aspects of criminal law, constitutional law and medical ethics. This subject introduces students to health law – a field providing them with grounding in the major controversies of Australian health law. The subject begins with an analysis of the relationship between law and medicine and the function of medical ethics, and moves into the main topics areas of reproduction, consent, negligence, end-of-life decision making, public health and human tissue regulation.

Principal topics will include:

  • The legal structure of the Australian health care system
  • Medical negligence
  • Consent to and refusal of medical procedures
  • Substitute decision making
  • Status of the foetus and abortion
  • Sterilisation
  • End-of-life decisions
  • Wrongful birth and wrongful life
  • Genetics and law
  • Public health law
  • Human tissue regulation.
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Understand the basic law and ethics relating to the relationship between a health professional and a patient
  • Be familiar with legislation, guidelines and the common law governing particular procedures
  • Be familiar with the policy and ethical issues underlying health law.

Research paper proposal (10%): Maximum three pages, including synopsis, research methods and initial bibliography on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

9,000 word research paper (90%) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

Prescribed Texts:

Core subject materials will be provided free of charge to all students. Some subjects require further texts to be purchased. Details regarding any prescribed texts will be provided prior to the commencement of the subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Health and Medical Law
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Master of Health and Medical Law
Master of Laws

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