New LLM: Health, Law, and Society

By Prof John Coggon, Professor of Law and Co-Director, Centre for Health, Law, and Society (University of Bristol Law School).

Scholars at the University of Bristol Law School have enjoyed a longstanding presence at the forefront of research in health law, and the undergraduate unit in Medical Law has become one of the most popular options on our degree programme. The School is home to leaders in fields that examine health law topics such as reproduction, mental health, public and global health, medical innovation, public procurement, and professional regulation. Our academics explore these issues from critical perspectives that include ethical, justice-based, historical, regulatory, economic, political and socio-legal approaches. As well as leading in research and education, we have close engagement with bodies responsible for advocacy, regulation, standard-setting, professional training, and providing ethical review and advice.

In reflection of this excellent concentration of expertise and experience, we have founded a new research Centre and are launching an exciting LLM Programme in Health, Law, and Society. Our aim with this innovative degree is to advance a course that looks at, but also reaches far beyond, questions concerning medicine and healthcare, to incorporate knowledge and understanding of how law and governance across all social and political sectors may impact health—for better or for worse. The breadth and depth of study on the course, reflecting directly our diverse range of teaching and research interests, is enhanced by the inclusion throughout the year of guest sessions led by scholars and specialists whose work and practice afford them unique insights and perspectives.

To complete the programme, students take four taught units and complete a dissertation. There are two core units: Law, Governance, and Health; and Health Inequalities, Law, and Society. The first of these takes a ‘top down’ approach to understanding and analysing the legal and political dynamics of health governance, while the second takes a more ‘ground up’ perspective, considering social movements and modes of governance. Beyond these units, students choose one of our specialist health law options—Health Law and the Body; Law and Governance for Mental and Social Well-Being; and Public and Global Health Law. And the final option is a further specialist health law option, or an alternative option from Bristol’s wider LLM programme.

We are delighted with the breadth of our programme, examining in detail health broadly conceived, including often neglected matters such as mental health, reproductive justice, and social and political determinants of health. At its heart, the programme aims to enthuse, energise, and empower students and place them at the heart of contemporary health law. We include assessment methods directed at practical questions of law and policy reform, as well as critical evaluation and analysis.

The programme can be taken part time or full time, and is an excellent foundation to a broad range of careers. These include applicants working in, or aiming to work in, law and policy, healthcare practice and provision, and legal/policy research.

More details on the course and how you can apply are found here. We very much look forward to welcoming our first cohort of Health, Law, and Society students in September.

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