LAWS 7008 Bioethics

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 200957

Coordinator Patrick Foong Opens in new window

Description This subject explores a range of ethical and legal issues in public health, biomedical research, biotechnology and medical practice. Topics covered include the nature of moral thinking, issues of life and death, experimentation and research involving human subjects, genetic technology, new reproductive technologies, consent and confidentiality.

School Law

Discipline Law, Not Elsewhere Classified.

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Postgraduate Coursework Level 7 subject

Pre-requisite(s) For students in 2826 Juris Doctor LAWS 7072 and LAWS 7061
For students in 2824 Master of Laws LAWS 7078 and LAWS 7061

Equivalent Subjects -

Incompatible Subjects JUST 2002 Bioethics and LAWS 2014 Bioethics


Students must be enrolled in 2824 Master of Laws or 2826 Juris Doctor. 

Students in 8083 Bachelor of Research Studies, 4700 Graduate Diploma in Health Science or 4698 Master of Health Science in the T019 Health Services Management major should seek permission from the law school via a rule waiver to enrol in this subject.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Evaluate ethical concepts, principles and theories that arise in debates concerning the applications of biomedical and biotechnological developments from different international and local contexts and perspectives.
  2. Assess the causes, consequences and problems of contemporary patterns of health and illness, health inequalities, healthcare provision and biomedical research.
  3. Critically apply relevant ethical and legal ideas to practical biotechnological problem situations, biomedical law reform and legal issues raised by recent developments in biotechnology.
  4. Present clear evidenced-based arguments in support of own ethical position and values.

Subject Content

  1. Introduction to bioethics law
  2. Medical and health ethics and law
  3. Health and medical research
  4. Biotechnology: Cloning and stem cell research
  5. Genetic technology
  6. Assisted reproductive technology (ART)
  7. Consent, confidentiality and privacy
  8. Surrogacy
  9. Euthanasia


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Presentation 20 minutes 30 N Individual
Proposal 1,000 words 25 N Individual
Essay 4,000 words 45 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Ben White, Fiona McDonald and Lindy Willmott, Health Law in Australia (Thomson Reuters, 4th ed, 2023).

Teaching Periods

Autumn (2024)

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Patrick Foong Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window