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Health law, governance and ethics

Exploring the links between health care, law, politics and ethics

We are building on two decades of excellence in health law through our strong focus on research, teaching and community engagement.

Our vision

We engage in, encourage and promote research at the cutting edge of health law, including health care law, public health law and governance, mental health law, and global health governance. Our interdisciplinary work investigates regulatory issues at the interface of health policy, bioethics and governance at national and global levels.

Our work

  • Professor Cameron Stewart looks at the regulation of consent, guardianship law and human tissue. Most recently he has led studies into biobanking and autologous stem cell therapy. He is particularly interested in the use of private law constructs (tort, contract and equity) in the regulation of health law.
  • Dr Belinda Reeve's is interested in the intersections between law, regulation and non-communicable disease prevention. She is exploring the legal and regulatory options for creating a healthier food environment, including through product reformulation initiatives, restrictions on food advertising to children, and innovative measures at local government level.
  • Professor Barbara McDonald is exploring: first, the impact of tort reforms on the fundamental elements of negligence actions, including in medical negligence actions, and the liability of multiple wrongdoers; and secondly, the developing law of privacy and equitable breach of confidence. Her work has been cited in the High Court of Australia and other appellate courts. 
  • Dr Sascha Callaghan is the lead researcher in the Sydney Neurolaw Lab which works closely with the University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Centre in teaching and research initiatives. She co-convened the multi-centre, international conference, Neuroscience & Society: Ethical, Legal & Clinical Implications of Neuroscience Research in September 2017 in collaboration with the Brain and Mind Centre, Monash and Macquarie Universities, and has established a partnership with Macquarie University on  the uniquely public resource, the Australian Neurolaw Database. Sascha has been invited to speak to the Judicial College of Australia on neuroscience in Australian courtrooms and regularly contributes to medical and legal professional training on issues related to capacity and consent, and mental health. Recent contributions include collaborations with Nepean Clinical School on training on "Birth trauma and intra partum consent", and the publication of a chapter on "Capacity and the right to refuse psychiatric treatment" in Capacity and the Law, Nick O’Neill and Carmelle Peisah (eds), Sydney University Press and Austlii, 2011. She has also contributed to numerous policy development initiatives by Australian governments including through a recent grant funded by the Queensland Mental Health Commission to investigate Human rights protection frameworks for people being treated involuntarily for a mental illness (2017-2019). 
  • Professor Roger Magnusson's recent research focuses on the regulation of non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and tobacco-related diseases and the capacity of law to regulate their risk factors. For example, his joint work with Dr Belinda Reeve has identified strategies for strength of salt, a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

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