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Health Law Intensive course

The University of Otago’s Faculty of Law offers postgraduate-focused courses in Health Systems Law. This is of interest to senior clinicians, health board members, chief executives, and senior managers working in the health sector in Australia and New Zealand. Enrolment is also open to post-graduate law students and practising lawyers with an interest in the field of health law.

The 2021 course is in Wellington on 23 – 27 August.

Register your interest now at We’ll send you an enrolment form when they become available in early 2021.

Watch this space!

What to expect at the Health Law Intensive course

The course consists of 5 full days of intensive teaching. Each day includes lectures, case studies, and small group work, addressing the most important legal issues and challenges faced by the health sector.

Numbers are limited to allow plenty of interaction with presenters and other participants. A list of topics is set out below and in the attached brochure.

Participants will be expected to prepare for the course with pre-course reading, and will be assessed.

Who should attend?

You will benefit from this course if you are working in a senior role in the health sector. In particular, you should consider attending if you:

  • Practise as a chief medical adviser, clinical director/leader or as a senior clinician in the New Zealand health sector (as a doctor, nurse, or other registered health practitioner)
  • Serve as a board member, chief executive, or senior manager of a health sector organisation (including DHBs, private hospitals, and NGOs)
  • Have worked as a senior clinician or manager in an overseas jurisdiction and wish to develop your knowledge of New Zealand health law
  • Are undertaking vocational training with any of the Royal Australasian Colleges
  • Are considering studying towards a postgraduate qualification in health law, such as a University of Otago Masters in Bioethics and Health Law

Course overview (with examples of topics covered)

Day 1: Health systems and the law

  • Understanding health laws and the principles of statutory interpretation
  • Identifying statutory roles of key health sector stakeholders
  • Discussing health sector funding, procurements and contracting
  • Regulating medicines
  • New Zealand’s no fault compensation scheme
  • Compulsory assessment and treatment

Day 2: Health consumers and the law

  • Promoting and protecting patients’ rights under the Code of Rights
  • Duty of care
  • Obtaining informed consent
  • Advance directives
  • Enduring Powers of Attorney
  • Right 7(4)/court orders
  • Making healthcare decisions for children

Day 3: Health practitioners and the law

  • Regulating health practitioners
  • Managing concerns about health, competence, or conduct
  • Key principles of employment law
  • Collective bargaining
  • Public health law
  • Human Rights and the Health and Disability Sector
  • Ensuring workplace health and safety

Day 4: Making good decisions in the provision of healthcare

  • Health information privacy
  • Official Information and PQAAs
  • Prioritising in a resource constrained environment
  • Complying with principles of natural justice and avoiding judicial review
  • Preventing, managing and learning from complaints
  • Major inquiries
  • Advances in technology

Day 5: Health law and ethics

  • Beginning of life
  • Organ donation
  • Withdrawal of treatment
  • End of life
  • Protecting the vulnerable
  • Reporting of deaths and coronial inquiries