Research areas

Our research programs draw on existing and emerging research strengths of academic staff aligned with the Centre for Health, Law and Society. The programs aim to facilitate interdisciplinary research and collaborations that explore institutional, material and technological relationships between health, law and society. The Centre draws on a range of disciplinary perspectives from outside of law, such as sociology, anthropology, bioethics, visual arts, public health, politics, and gender and queer studies. The Centre’s current research programs are focused on three main themes: end of life; gender, sexuality and reproduction; and health governance and rights.

End of Life

Members of the Centre have research expertise in a number of fields related to theoretical, historical and institutional relations between law, life and death. Specific areas of interest include coronial law and forensic medicine; death registration and certification systems; organ and tissue donation and transplantation; legislative frameworks for voluntary assisted dying; legal aspects of different methods for disposing human remains; the regulation of health, life and funeral insurance; and end of life care planning and risk management. Examples of recent projects include bereaved people's experiences of the coronial system; understanding the forensic, socio-legal and social value of AFTER; coronial justice in the digital age; and developing indicators for the public health factors contributing to the quality of end of life.

Gender, Sexuality and Reproduction

Members of the Centre have research expertise in a number of fields related to gender, sexuality and reproduction, including the regulation of assisted reproduction; LGBTIQ fertility decision-making and parenting; abortion, stillbirth and reproductive loss; healthcare provisions for LGBTIQ prisoners; LGBTIQ conversion practices; socio-legal support for reproductive decision-making; and the regulation of access to medical treatment for transgender youth. Examples of recent projects include the socio-legal implications of donor linking; regulating the technological transformations of sex; the role of family violence in women’s bail and remand outcomes; legislative reforms enabling same-sex couples and single women to access IVF clinics; and implications of criminalising harm to late-term foetuses that die due to injuries inflicted on their mother.

Health Governance and Rights

Members of the Centre have research expertise in a number of fields related to health governance and rights, including policymaking, institutional arrangements, regulatory regimes, and multi-level governance and systems. Specific areas of interest include the design and implementation of regulatory regimes involving big data and artificial intelligence; multi-jurisdictional agreements on global trade, pharmaceuticals and intellectual property; legal recognition of emergent and contested illnesses; the health effects of climate change; international frameworks on the right to health, including human rights for people living with a disability; institutional arrangements and administrative review for schemes, such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and no-fault compensation for medical injury; and the relationship between local, regional and global governance arrangements and their impact in (public) health.