The Federation Press

Disputes and Dilemmas in Health Law


This book replaces the successful Controversies in Health Law. Under the same editorship and much the same authorship, it is substantially larger (30 chapters instead of 18) and correspondingly more comprehensive. It retains the lively analysis and the focus on controversial and cutting-edge problems.

The chapters are broken up into parts covering Litigation and Liabilty; Reproductive Technologies; The Sequelae of the End of Life; Public Health; Ethical Frameworks and Dilemmas; Regulation; Human Rights and Therapeutic Jurisprudence; Research and Vulnerability and Information, Privacy and Confidentiality .

They consider issues raised by new technologies, changing legislation and altering community expectations; by new regulatory processes for medicine and all of the health professions; by the fundamental changes to civil liability for medical negligence; by the fierce debate over the role of coroners.

Disputes and Dilemmas in Health Law covers questions on property in human tissue and on the ethical and legal aspects of the genetics revolution; provides a modern take on “old” issues such as reproductive law; takes account of changes relating to expert evidence; and discusses how difficult cases in relation to psychiatric injury and wrongful life are pushing compensability to its edges.


A great reference book for anyone interested in health law in Australia. - Belinda Bennett, Director, Centre for Health Governance, Law and Ethics, University of Sydney, Australia

This comprehensive text covers wide ranging issues involving medicine and law. ... The section of greatest interest to practicing opthalmologists and surgeons will be section 8, Litigation and Liability. ... It provides an excellent summary of the current medical negliegence law. ... This book is an excellent overall review of most of the issues in health law. It would be of interest to anyone with a particular interest in medico-legal matters. - Dr Michael Delaney, RANZCO News, September 2006

This scholarly text provides state-of-the-art discussion over a great range of health law. The subject matter is always fascinating and contemporary. Some chapters have excellent tabular summaries or appendices, particularly in relation to the differences between various jurisdictions, and there is a comprehensive bibliography and index. - Law Society Journal (New South Wales), Vol 45(5), June 2007

The book’s 36 contributors include high profile legal and medical practitioners and widely published senior academics. ... their essays are analytic, informative, challenging and at times provocative. ... the book’s emphasis tends to be on the legal aspects of health dilemmas. There are discussions on liability and medical negligence, inadequate provision of health services, the accountability of health practitioners for their conduct, ramifications of public health harms, civil claims etc. The legal minefield in health law is also very evident when discussing such issues as reproductive technology and aspects of the fast moving area of genetics. Nevertheless, that there is a strong moral and ethical side to health law is also evident, particularly in the sections dealing with human rights, and in discussions on both beginning and end-of-life issues. ... It is well written and well referenced and it is also amazingly easy to read, considering the overall complexity of the issues and the sheer size of the book. The wide range of topics discussed and the general organisation of the book makes it both interesting reading and a good reference. It would be valuable for both legal and medical practitioners, and also a useful resource for students of medicine, law and many other related subjects. - Australian Law Librarian Vol 15 No 3, 2007

Table of Contents

Part One - Introduction
Disputes and Dilemmas in Health Law: An Overview
Ian Freckelton and Kerry Petersen

Part Two - Ethical Frameworks and Dilemmas
Moral frameworks in health care: An introduction to ethics
Ian Kerridge, John McPhee, Chris Jordens and Georgina C Clark
Advance directives: Disputes and dilemmas
Cameron Stewart
Competency issues for young persons and older persons
John Devereux and Malcolm Parker

Part Three - Human Rights and Therapeutic Jurisprudence
Human rights, health rights and the jurisprudence of public health law
Penny Weller
Mental health law and therapeutic jurisprudence
Kate Diesfeld and Ian Freckelton

Part Four - Public Health
New directions in public health law
Chris Reynolds
Mad cows and prisons: Legal, ethical and operational challenges in responding to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) and variant CJD
Roger S Magnusson
Interantional trade agreements and the practice of medicine
Thomas Alured Faunce

Part Five - Reproductive Technologies
Old technologies and new challenges: Assisted reproduction and its regulation
Helen Szoke, Lexi Neame and Louise Johnson
Genetic technologies and ART: Ethical values, legal regulation and informal regulation
Kerry Petersen
The regulation of cloning and stem cell research
Donald Chalmers

Part Six - Research and Vulnerability
Genetic research and commercialisation
Diane Nicol
Current issues in gene patenting
Anne Rees and Brian Opeskin

Part Seven - The Sequelae of the end of Life
The evolving institution of Coroner
Ian Freckelton and David Ransom
Disposing of the Dead: Objectivity, subjectivity and identity
Rosalind F Croucher
Organ donation and transplantation in Australia
Peter Saul, John McPhee and Ian Kerridge
Arbitrating "end-of-life" decisions: Issues, processes and the role of the law
Danuta Mendelson and Michael Ashby

Part Eight - Litigation and Liability
Life after the Ipp Reforms: Medical negligence law
Belinda Bennett and Ian Freckelton
Doctors and forensic expertise
Ian Freckelton
Judicial activism or "traditional" negligence law? Conception, pregnancy and denial of reproductive choice
Reg Graycar
Dilemmas in obstetrics and midwifery
John Seymour
Nurses as defendants: Emerging risks
Kim Forrester

Part Nine - Regulation
Regulation of health practitioners
Ian Freckelton
Health systems, quality control and corporatisation: New challenges for accountability
Beth Wilson
Vulnerability in research
George F Tomossy

Part Ten - Information, Privacy and Confidentiality
Re-thinking confidentiality
Marilyn McMahon
Privacy issues, HealthConnect and beyond
Livia Iacovino, Danuta Mendelson and Moira Paterson
Genetic privacy, discrimination and insurance
Loane Skene and Margaret Otlowski
Record creation and access: the impact of legislative changes
Angela Palombo

Select Bibliography

Of interest...