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Unit information: Law, Governance and Health in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Law, Governance and Health
Unit code LAWDM0134
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Quick
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The Law, Governance and Health unit examines the related ideas of health governance and governance for health. It examines both theoretical and practical questions engaged by the idea of health in all policies, and engages critically with questions of how health should factor into the governance roles of different public and private institutions, what constraints there are on health policy broadly conceived, and how accountability may be achieved in relation to different institutional actors engaged in health across sectors. Given the breadth of its scope, practical areas of analysis will draw from different sectors, and students will learn about the application of different modes of critical understanding to describe, explain, and evaluate health governance and governance for health.

Intended learning outcomes

The Unit aims to develop an understanding of Law, Governance, and Health, and develop an institutional and context-based approach to the study of questions in health law. As appropriate, these will be considered in light of associated social, political, and regulatory perspectives.

On completion of the Unit, students should be able to:

  1. Analyse critically the ideas of Health Governance and Governance for Health
  2. Analyse critically the concept of health in all policies, and how this may work in practice
  3. Undertake independent research and critical analysis in relation to questions raised on the Unit
  4. Apply critically such knowledge and understanding within a discursive, critical essay
  5. State critically relevant law and other modes of regulation accurately
  6. Apply legal and political principles to practical questions concerning law, governance, and health
  7. Evaluate critically the overall area of Law, Governance, and Health

Teaching details

The Unit will provide thirty contact hours, comprised in eight topic/approach-focused lectures, two lectures focused on feedback and coursework preparation, and ten two-hour seminars incorporating mixed teaching and learning methods.

Assessment Details

The summative assessment for this Unit will be in the form of 2 x 3000-word critical, discursive essays, weighted at 50% each. Students overall mark will be derived by the combined result of the two assignments.

The subject matter of the assignments will relate to practical points addressed through the learning and teaching, and will assess all of the intended learning outcomes of the Unit. This will be achieved cumulatively, with the first assignment aimed in particular at testing ILOs 1-5, and the second assignment testing all ILOs.

The formative assessment will be one 1500-word critical, discursive essay.

Additional opportunities for non-assessed formative work and feedback will be provided through mixed teaching methods and student-led tasks (e.g. presentations) in seminars.

Reading and References

Given the innovative nature of this Unit, there is not a suitable ‘core’ textbook. As such, a rich range of specific readings will be provided within the Unit Guide as updated annually. These will include textbook readings, but will draw extensively from primary legal and regulatory materials, and secondary materials such as public reports and academic works.

Indicative points of textbook type reference include, but certainly are not limited to:

Chapters from broad-focused health law texts, such as:

  • John Coggon, Keith Syrett, A.M. Viens, Public Health Law: Ethics, Governance, and Regulation (Routledge, 2017)

Chapters from general works on regulatory theory and approaches, and works focusing on health governance and institutions, such as:

  • Bronwyn Morgan and Karen Yeung, An Introduction to Law and Regulation: Text and Materials (Cambridge University Press, 2003)
  • Paul Weindling (ed), Healthcare in Private and Public from the Early Modern Period to 2000 (Routledge, 2015)
  • Charles Webster, The National Health Service—A Political History, 2nd edn (Oxford University Press, 2002)
  • James Hanley, Healthy Boundaries: Property, Law, and Public Health in England and Wales, 1815-1872 (Boydell and Brewer, 2016)

Chapters advancing critical perspectives on the roles of institutions in relation to governance for health, such as:

  • Madison Powers and Ruth Faden, Social Justice: The Moral Foundations of Public Health and Health Policy (Oxford University Press, 2006)
  • Jennifer Prah Ruger, Health and Social Justice (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Students’ critical understanding and approaches will be informed by works in legal, political, and social theory.