Health law


The Australian Centre for Health Law Research is a specialist health law centre within QUT's Faculty of Law. Through its research, the centre generates new knowledge, evidence and insights to enhance health and legal policy and practice, and improve health outcomes.

The centre undertakes research into a broad range of health law issues including end of life decision-making, regulation of children's health and the beginning of life, the governance and regulation of health care, as well as ethical and policy issues relevant to these topics.


Evidence of research quality

ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) 2012 score:

  • 4 (above world standard) -
    • Law (FOR 1801).

ERA (Excellence in Research Australia) evaluates the quality of research undertaken in Australian universities against national and international benchmarks.

Developing new researchers

Research students
Early career researchers

Publication output


High quality
39% in HERDC

Research income

2011 total

Key grants

  • Withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment from adults who lack capacity: the role of law in medical practice (ARC Linkage)
  • Futile treatment at the end of life: legal, policy, sociological and economic perspectives (ARC Linkage)
  • Teachers reporting child sexual abuse: towards evidence-based reform of law, policy and practice (ARC Discovery)
  • Managing family objection to autopsy: a case study of the Queensland coronial system (ARC Linkage)
  • Families and generational asset transfers: making and challenging wills in contemporary Australia (ARC Linkage)
  • Young people and sexting in Australia: ethics, representation and the law (ARC Centre of Excellence)
  • Articulating standards: translating the practices of standardizing health technologies (Canadian Institutes for Health Research Operating Grant)
  • Longitudinal study of coronial case types in greater Brisbane 2002-2010 (Queensland Health Clinical and Statewide Services)
  • Assessment of physical injury during disaster recovery activities and the development of injury prevention strategies (Queensland Health and Medical Research Scheme)


International linkages

Universities and institutes

  • University of Colorado
  • Florida International University
  • Trinity College Dublin - The Children's Research Centre
  • Cardiff University
  • Pondicherry University, India
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign - Children and Family Research Center
  • Injury and Child Maltreatment Section, Public Health Agency of Canada
  • University of Otago
  • Dalhousie University (Dalhousie Health Law Institute) (Department of Bioethics) (Technoscience and Regulation Research Unit)
  • University of Western Ontario (Anthropology)
  • Institute of Science (Indonesia)
  • University of Manitoba (Medicine)
  • University of Durham (Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience)
  • Penn State University
  • Hamline University
  • University of Edinburgh (School of Law and SCRIPT Centre)
  • University of Southampton

Government departments

  • Nova Scotia Department of Health
  • Alberta Health
  • British Columbia Ministry of Health
  • Manitoba Health
  • Health Canada

Non-government organisations

  • Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners
  • Professionals Against Child Abuse (UK)

Significant corporate partnerships

  • Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital
  • Australian Association of Bioethics and Health Law

Cross-disciplinary engagement

  • IHBI
  • Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation
  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Health
  • Children and Youth Research Centre


Evidence of impact

  • Reform of Queensland child protection legislation (Mathews)
  • Reform of Queensland guardianship legislation (White)
  • Changes to Queensland and Western Australian government and non-government school sector policies and training regarding teachers and the reporting of child sexual abuse (Mathews)
  • Cited in High Court of Australia (White, Willmott)
  • Cited in Victorian Supreme Court (Mathews)
  • Cited in Supreme Court of Tasmania (Mathews)
  • Cited in Family Court of Australia (White, Willmott)
  • Cited in prestigious national and international scholarly journals (Mathews, White, Willmott, McGee)
  • Submissions to law reform consultations in Victoria, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK (Mathews)
  • Submissions to Victorian Law Reform Commission for Guardianship Review (White, Willmott, Then)
  • Member of the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry Ethics Committee (Then)
  • Research reported in Australian media including Courier Mail, ABC and SBS news (White, Willmott, Mathews)
  • Research reported in international media including Irish Times and New Scientist (Mathews), and Time (McGee)
  • Member of the Queensland Health Clinical Ethics Committee (White, Willmott)
  • Invited keynote at 2010 Second National Conference on Child Abuse for Multi Disciplinary Professionals in Chennai, India (Mathews)
  • Invited Annual Lecture for Queensland College of Teachers 2011 (Mathews)

Australian Centre for Health Law Research enquiries

Research enquiries

Law research office