• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Sarah Steele
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Winter Session 2020
    See Future Offerings

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had adverse impacts that were felt globally. By raising issues for governments around the world, it was immediately evident that the magnitude of the pandemic went way beyond the reach of individual states. The pandemic triggered not only domestic action but international legal responses, which themselves rather swiftly came under fire.  Both action and inaction exposed what some felt were a number of normative gaps at the international level.

The course seeks to explore the context and development of global health law and governance, while introducing contemporary case studies and examples to challenge students to think about current claims that a “paradigm shift” is occurring. The course provides a critical overview of international health law within the context of the development of contemporary international law as well as the structures and features of global health governance. It focuses on the following issues underlying international health law and that will provide opportunities for critical analysis and a fresh approach to the subject:

  • Definition, scope and functions of international health law;
  • The role of WHO as the main institutional actor in health governance, and its normative role;
  • Interactions of public health concerns with international instruments and regimes such as those regulating international trade and investments, human rights, international security and environmental protection;
  • The main features and actors of "global health governance" and their role in the development of international health law; and
  • A critical assessment of the adequacy of international health law for the protection and promotion of public health and prospects for their development and reform.


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of how international law regulates health, both in theory and in practice;
  2. Demonstrate an ability to reflect critically on global health issues and to consider how international organisations deal with health, including the effectiveness of strategies used to address global health issues;
  3. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the relationship between international health law and various other bodies of international law and an ability to apply and/or explain how these principles sit within the broader international legal framework;
  4. Demonstrate an ability to think critically about international health law and to engage in complex analysis of the international law bearing on health; and
  5. Plan and execute complex legal research with independence in order to produce original scholarship.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Class Participation (10%) (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  2. Research Essay (6,000 words) (90) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 26 hours of face to face teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours. Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week.

Click here for the LLM Masters Program timetable.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Master of Laws (7300XLLM, MLLM), Master of Laws in Migration (NLLML), Master of Laws in International Law (NLLIL), Master of Laws in Environmental Law (NLLEN), Master of Laws in Law, Governance & Development (NLLGD), Master of Laws in International Security Law (NLLSL), Master of Laws in Government and Regulation (NLLGR), Master of Legal Practice (MLEGP) Master of International Law and Diplomacy (MINLD); OR Juris Doctor (7330XJD, 7330HJD or MJD), have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses and have completed LAWS2250/LAWS6250 International Law; OR Graduate Certificate of Law (CLAW) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions; OR Master of Military Law (MMILL). Students undertaking any ANU graduate program may apply for this course. Enrolments are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the ANU College of Law for permission number.

Prescribed Texts

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately 2 weeks prior to the commencement of the course.

Assumed Knowledge

Participants must have completed Principles of International Law (LAWS8182) or equivalent.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4320
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6689 10 Aug 2020 17 Aug 2020 21 Aug 2020 02 Oct 2020 Online View

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