For graduate students, the course number is LAW6006HS.

Note: This course satisfies the Perspective course requirement.

Note: The Quercus program will be used for this course. 

This course explores the relation of law and legal practice to population health, animated by human rights law and public health evidence, with a focus on socio-economically marginalized populations and groups.  We recognize law is a social determinant of health. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fundamental role played by the state in assuring the conditions in which people can be healthy.  How can law support optimal health for populations and groups?  In what ways do existing laws impede or promote this aim?  We explore emergent understandings of human rights as inextricably linked to public health outcomes.

We will canvass the foundations of public health law, focusing on legal approaches to improving population health and remediating health inequities, and the limits of law, including limits arising out of the Canadian Constitution.  Through diverse topics in public health law we will inquire into the appropriate roles for and limits of state power.  Topics will include: access to harm reduction services in the context of the overdose, HIV and Hepatitis C epidemics; solitary confinement and mental health of prisoners; safe, secure and affordable housing; tobacco control and cannabis regulation; criminal and public health regulation of HIV exposure and transmission; and pandemic and emergency preparedness.  Course readings will include caselaw, legal commentary, peer-reviewed public health literature, and policy analysis. 

Class participation (10%); class presentation on readings (20%); paper outline and annotated bibliography (500 words) (10%); and final paper (4,000 – 4,500 words) (60%).
Academic year
2022 - 2023

At a Glance

Second Term
Perspective course



15 JD

6 DLSPH students


T: 6:10 - 8:00 pm