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The University of Otago and Vida Law are pleased to confirm that the post-graduate focused course will be held in Wellington from 26–30 August 2024.

This course is designed specifically for senior clinicians, board members, chief executives and managers working in the New Zealand health and disability sector.

Enrolment is also open to postgraduate law students and practising lawyers with an interest in the field of health law.

2024 Health Law Intensive Course enrolment form (PDF)

2024 Health Law Intensive Course overview (PDF)


2024 dates

Monday 26 August – Friday 30 August 2024.

What to expect

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

Numbers are limited, to allow plenty of interaction with presenters and other participants.

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

Who should attend?

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

  • Practise as a clinical director/leader or otherwise as a senior clinician in the New Zealand health and disability sector.
  • Serve as a board member, chief executive, or senior manager of a health and disability sector organisation.
  • Have worked as a senior clinician or manager in the health and disability sector 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.

Course overview for 2024

Day 1: Health systems and the law

  • Introduction to New Zealand's legal system
  • The public health and disability sector
  • New Zealand's no-fault compensation scheme
  • Civil and criminal liability relating to the provision of health and disability services in New Zealand
  • Health sector funding, procurements and contracting

Day 2: Health consumers and the law

  • Promoting and protecting patients' rights under the Code of Rights
  • Supported decision making
  • Advance directives
  • Healthcare decision making in the absence of consent
  • Adult legal guardians
  • Healthcare decisions by and for children

Day 3: Health practitioners and the law

  • Key principles of employment law
  • Managing concerns about health, competence, or conduct of health practitioners
  • Ensuring workplace health and safety
  • Human rights and the health and disability sector
  • Practising in a resource constrained environment
  • Governance and the health and disability sector

Day 4: Healthcare harm and the law

  • Health information privacy
  • Official information
  • Protected Quality Assurance Activities
  • Compulsory assessment and treatment
  • Healing, learning and improving from harm
  • Adopting a restorative practice and hohou te rongo approach to addressing healthcare law
  • Preventing, managing, and learning from complaints
  • Learning from major inquiries
  • Reporting deaths and coronial inquiries

Day 5: Health law and ethics

  • Organ donation
  • Abortion law reform
  • Withdrawal and withholding treatment
  • The role of the Clinical Ethics Advisory Group
  • Assisted dying
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