Australian Centre for Health Law Research
Shaping law, policy and practice
We are a group of transdisciplinary researchers who conduct innovative research at the intersection of law, health, ethics, and policy. We aim to generate new knowledge to inform reforms to law, policy and practice.
Our research has had significant impact: our recommendations have been adopted by parliaments, courts and tribunals, and law reform commissions. Our work has also influenced state and national policy, prompting changes to clinical education in universities, hospitals and health departments.
We have been awarded significant competitive grants, awards and contracts to conduct research and training.
End of life
Challenging legal issues must be addressed at the end of life to ensure that people can die as well as possible.
Our research explores legal, ethical and policy issues in death and dying, including:
- withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment
- provision of futile treatment at the end of life
- advance care planning
- palliative care
- euthanasia and assisted dying
- coronial systems and regulation
- organ and tissue donation.
Health, society and regulation
Law has an impact on individuals and populations when they seek health care. We study the social, regulatory, and ethical challenges associated with the regulation of health care.
Our research interests include:
- children’s health and the beginning of life
- consent and decision making, including substitute and supported decision making
- mental health law
- public health - for example, tobacco plain packaging
- compensation and civil liability
- disability and discrimination law
- health professional regulation and system governance
- information privacy.
Theme leader: Dr Shih-Ning Then
Ageing and aged care
Ageing populations internationally raise pressing legal, health, social and policy issues. Our researchers are investigating ways to address these issues.
Our work focuses on:
- elder abuse
- capacity assessment
- decision making
- housing and care
- future planning including wills, enduring powers of attorney and advance health directives
- cognitive impairment including dementia
- human rights and ageing
Technology, innovation and health
Our researchers are investigating the social, legal and regulatory implications of technology and innovation in health care. We are leading debates on the role of law in regulating emerging and disruptive technologies, with a focus on:
- regulation of new innovative medical technologies
- privacy and health data
- genomics and proteomics
- gene patenting
- artificial intelligence and robotics
- assistive technology
Theme leader: Professor Belinda Bennett
Research with us
We welcome engagement with government, industry, hospitals and health care providers, health professionals, non-governmental agencies, and community and patient groups, as well as other researchers across many disciplines.
Study with us
We offer a vibrant research culture and strong focus on collaborative, multidisciplinary projects.
We are internationally renowned for our studies in health law, ethics, technology, governance and public policy. Our members have published in leading journals and presented at conferences nationally and internationally.
Featured project: Genomics
Genomic technologies offer the promise of revolutionising health care, but these new approaches to diagnosing and treating disease bring with them a host of ethical, legal and social and policy complexities. ACHLR researchers are collaborating with QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and The University of Queensland to examine issues associated with the collection, use and storage of genomic data, and how to justly allocate access to genomic medicine.
Access our researchers' books and articles on a range of health law topics.
The work of Professors Ben White and Lindy Willmott has influenced end-of-life law.
An interdisciplinary panel of experts joined the Australian Centre for Health Law Research (ACHLR) and Health Ethics and Law (HEAL) for a public seminar that discussed the fundamental importance of capacity, as well as supported and substitute decision-making in our ageing society.
The Faculty of Law was joined by Professor Caroline de Costa from James Cook University for a keynote lecture on abortion law reform in Queensland.