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The Emergence and Evolution of Health Law

Ian Freckelton is a Senior Counsel at the Victorian Bar. He is also a Professorial Fellow in Law and Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Monash University, having previously been an Adjunct Professor of Law at La Trobe University.

He is the Editor of the Journal of Law and Medicine (Thomson Reuters) and the Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law (ANZAPPL). Ian has been a member of nine statutory tribunals, including the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria and the Mental Health Review Board of Victoria. He is a member of the Coronial Council of Victoria and was a member of the Public Health Law Centre at La Trobe University, the Bond University Centre for Forensic Excellence, and a Deputy Director of Monash University’s Centre for the Advancement of Law and Mental Health and the Vice-President of its Institute of Forensic Studies. He was appointed a Life Member of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, of which he was a long-time president, and is an elected fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia, the Australian Academy of Law and the Australian College of Legal Medicine.

Ian is the author and editor of more than three dozen books and more than 500 peer reviewed articles and chapters of books.

Health law is an area of discourse that has flowered during the last quarter of a century. It has become a vibrant, cross-disciplinary, comparative area of scholarship and teaching. Many influences have fed into its current form, including sociological, socio-legal, ethical and interdisciplinary. It crosses over many different areas of law at both a practical and a conceptual level. This article explores the contribution of such influences, particularly focusing upon the two decades after 1975. It identifies as major drivers in the evolution of health law changing views toward autonomy and dignity, less deferential attitudes toward the authority of professionals, consumerist demands for accountability, the increasing influence of human rights perspectives, unparalleled access for recipients of health care to information, the prominence of alternative and complementary forms of medicine, developments in technology, evolving awareness of disabilities, feminist scholarship, globalisation, and the contributions of bioethics and therapeutic jurisprudence. The article contends that the combination of these influences has resulted in a unique area of interdisciplinary scholarship and practice that has achieved a consolidated place at the pedagogical table and that will maintain its relevance in the years ahead.

(2013) 29(2) Law in Context 74

   
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