Special Issue "The Intersection of Human Rights Law and Health Law"

A special issue of Laws (ISSN 2075-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2016).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Rhonda Powell
Website
Guest Editor
School of Law, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
Interests: human rights law; health law; gender; reproductive health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In many places, in practice, health law has become dominated by personal injury litigation. The effect of this has been that potential legal issues in healthcare related to human rights have become invisible. The widespread development of patient codes of rights could be seen as a step forward. Alternatively, it could signal that healthcare practitioners do not always practice in a patient-centred, caring and rights-respecting manner.

By viewing (and regulating) healthcare through the lense of human rights, it can be argued that healthcare becomes more focused on the individual and that cultures of paternalistic decision-making can be challenged. On the other hand, it is also arguable that a rights perspective replaces one litigious approach with another, and that healthcare is better viewed through the lense of an ethics of care, or relationships of mutual trust and respect. These approaches may also challenge the consumer-provider model that is typical in many healthcare contexts as undermining therapeutic relationships.

This Special Issue focuses on the relationship between health law and human rights law. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a human rights law approach to healthcare regulation? How do human rights affect the parametres of the duty of care? What areas of healthcare exhibit human rights issues? How does the right to health play out in a practical context?

Submissions of both a theoretical nature and an applied nature, including interdisciplinary work with healthcare providers, are both encouraged.

Dr. Rhonda Powell
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Laws is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Human rights
  • Health law
  • Medical ethics
  • Patient rights
  • Personal injury litigation
  • Consent to treatment
  • Informed consent
  • Duty of care
  • Trust
  • Ethics of care

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A New Approach to Abortion Informed Consent Laws: How An Evidence Law Framework Can Clarify Casey’s Truthful, Non-Misleading Standard
Laws 2017, 6(2), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws6020006 - 01 Apr 2017
Abstract
United States Supreme Court doctrine has, for a quarter century, permitted regulations designed—through facts or nudges, but not force—to persuade pregnant women to choose childbirth over abortion. States have increasingly exceeded the bounds of this persuasive power by subjecting women to emotive and [...] Read more.
United States Supreme Court doctrine has, for a quarter century, permitted regulations designed—through facts or nudges, but not force—to persuade pregnant women to choose childbirth over abortion. States have increasingly exceeded the bounds of this persuasive power by subjecting women to emotive and potentially distressing ‘information’ like real-time fetal images, heart beat recordings, or state-mandated directives by their doctors that abortion would “terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” This article advances a novel approach to informed consent in abortion that draws on established principles in the U.S. Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE). Evidentiary rules requiring “completeness”, exempting “common knowledge”, and prohibiting evidence that is “more prejudicial than probative” provide a sounder way for courts to determine which informed consent regulations on abortion mislead and demean a woman in ways that violate her constitutional right to make the ultimate decision about whether to continue a pregnancy. This evidence law framework would resolve conflicts between a woman’s right and the state’s interest by forbidding mandatory disclosures of incomplete, unnecessary, and emotionally charged information designed to promote childbirth over abortion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Intersection of Human Rights Law and Health Law)
Open AccessArticle
Collegiality, Therapy and Mediation—The Contribution of Experts in Swedish Mental Health Law
Laws 2017, 6(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws6010002 - 17 Jan 2017
Cited by 1
Abstract
Independent experts serve a vital role in how the human rights of patients are protected in mental health law. This article investigates the contribution of court-appointed psychiatrists (APs) in civil commitment court hearings. Analysis is based on 12 court hearings that were audiotaped. [...] Read more.
Independent experts serve a vital role in how the human rights of patients are protected in mental health law. This article investigates the contribution of court-appointed psychiatrists (APs) in civil commitment court hearings. Analysis is based on 12 court hearings that were audiotaped. Supplementary informal interviews with participants were also conducted. Data were analysed through a combination of rhetoric analysis and discourse analysis. Analysis of the hearings reveals that APs do not fulfil their function to critically investigate treating psychiatrists’ (CPs) recommendations that patients meet commitment criteria. They typically do not ask any questions from CPs, and the few questions that are asked do not cast light on the legal issues at stake. To further understand the role of APs, their communication has been analyzed in terms of four interpretative repertoires: collegial, disclosing, therapeutic and mediating. In conclusion, the human rights of patients subjected to involuntary commitment might be at risk when therapeutic concerns are built into the process. The specific Swedish model where APs deliver their own assessment about whether commitment criteria are met may be counterproductive. This argument possibly extends to the role of medical members in mental health tribunals in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Intersection of Human Rights Law and Health Law)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Assessing the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines Report in Light of the Right to Health
Laws 2016, 5(4), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws5040043 - 22 Nov 2016
Abstract
Access to medicines is the lynchpin to realizing a range of human rights, public health and development imperatives. However, without strong policy action to increase access to affordable medicines, there is little hope of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals or of realizing the [...] Read more.
Access to medicines is the lynchpin to realizing a range of human rights, public health and development imperatives. However, without strong policy action to increase access to affordable medicines, there is little hope of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals or of realizing the human right to health. Access to medicines is a fundamental element of the right to health, and the majority of states are bound by core obligations in this regard. Accordingly, states must ensure that this critical human rights, public health and development interest is appropriately prioritized against inadequate resource allocations and competing private or trade interests. This is an imperative which we have argued should have framed the deliberations of the UN High Level Panel on Access to Medicines, convened to propose solutions to the “policy incoherence” between international human rights, trade rules and public health that is impeding access to medicines and the right to health for millions. In this article we explore interpretations in international human rights law regarding state duties towards medicines that should have guided these deliberations, and which were presented by the first author in a submission to the panel. We argue that at least two clear right to health duties support the High Level Panel’s recommendations: (1) the duty to prevent unreasonably high costs for medicines from denying large segments of the population their rights to health; and (2) the core obligation to provide essential medicines. Consequently, we explore three areas of action implied by these duties: (1) consistent implementation of human rights impact assessment; (2) institutionalizing the Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) flexibilities in law and policy; (3) making permanent the waiver of TRIPS for least developed countries (LDC), and waiving the application of TRIPS to essential medicines in low and middle-income countries. Finally, we assess the extent to which the recommendations made by the Panel’s final report comply with these duties and accordingly with the right to health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Intersection of Human Rights Law and Health Law)
Open AccessArticle
Access to Preventive Health Care for Undocumented Migrants: A Comparative Study of Germany, The Netherlands and Spain from a Human Rights Perspective
Laws 2016, 5(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws5010009 - 25 Feb 2016
Cited by 1
Abstract
The present study analyzes the preventive health care provisions for nationals and undocumented migrants in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain in light of four indicators derived from the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’ General Comment 14 (GC 14). These [...] Read more.
The present study analyzes the preventive health care provisions for nationals and undocumented migrants in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain in light of four indicators derived from the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’ General Comment 14 (GC 14). These indicators are (i) immunization; (ii) education and information; (iii) regular screening programs; and (iv) the promotion of the underlying determinants of health. It aims to answer the question of what preventive health care services for undocumented migrants are provided for in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain and how this should be evaluated from a human rights perspective. The study reveals that the access to preventive health care for undocumented migrants is largely insufficient in all three countries but most extensive in the Netherlands and least extensive in Germany. The paper concludes that a human rights-based approach to health law and policy can help to refine and concretize the individual rights and state obligations for the preventive health care of undocumented migrants. While the human rights framework is still insufficiently clear in some respects, the research concedes the added value of a rights-based approach as an evaluation tool, advocacy framework and moral principle to keep in mind when adopting or evaluating state policies in the health sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Intersection of Human Rights Law and Health Law)
Open AccessArticle
The Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Article 12: Prospective Feminist Lessons against the “Will and Preferences” Paradigm
Laws 2015, 4(4), 709-728; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4040709 - 12 Nov 2015
Cited by 6
Abstract
Human rights have recently impacted on current conceptualisations of the rights and obligations owed to individuals with impairments, culminating in the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Particularly significant is Article 12, where interpretations have heralded a “will and [...] Read more.
Human rights have recently impacted on current conceptualisations of the rights and obligations owed to individuals with impairments, culminating in the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Particularly significant is Article 12, where interpretations have heralded a “will and preferences” paradigm which rejects substituted decision-making mechanisms, even in situations where an individual should make personally harmful or unwise decisions about their treatment, care, or relationships. This paper explores problems with “strict” and “flexible” interpretations of Article 12, focusing specifically on safeguarding issues in cases of relational abuse, exploitation, and coercion. Drawing analogies with feminist arguments opposing violence against women in the domestic sphere, I challenge the private/public and individualistic account of autonomy which is implicit in interpretations of the “will and preferences” paradigm, and suggest that proponents of Article 12 should consider the possible justifiability of expanded protectionist measures in cases of abuse involving individuals with impairments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Intersection of Human Rights Law and Health Law)
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