LAWGENRL 727 - Special Topic: Health Law

Lecturer biography

Paul Rishworth QC is a Senior Crown Counsel at Crown Law in Wellington, and also a Professor of Law at the University of Auckland where he has taught since 1987. At Crown Law his work is in the field of constitutional and human rights law, fields in which he has researched and taught over many years at the Law School. His publications include Paul Rishworth, Grant Huscroft, Scott Optican, Richard Mahoney The New Zealand Bill of Rights (Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 2003) and many articles and book chapters.

Course outline

This course is a study of the rights to life and liberty and their impact when affirmed in constitutions and bills of rights. It will be taught as a comparative course, looking in particular at:

  • The ways in which life and liberty were reflected in the common law of England (and exported to its colonies such as New Zealand)
  • The rights in the 5th and 14th Amendment to the US Constitution (“to life, liberty and property”) which may not be taken away save by “due process”
  • The “right to private and family life” in the European Convention on Human Rights (and affirmed for the United Kingdom in the Human Rights Act 1998 (UK)
  • The rights to life, liberty and security of the person” in s 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • The right not to be deprived of life in s 8 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990


We will look at the main issues and trends that arise under these provisions wherever (and in whatever form) they are found in a constitution or bill of rights. Issues include:

  • Reproductive freedom, abortion, euthanasia and assisted dying, state liability for preventable loss of life and the duty to investigate suspicious deaths, choice of marriage partner(s) and family structure, child-raising preferences, career choices (eg prostitution), welfare rights and the idea of a minimum standard of living, educational and religious freedom and the capacity to live an autonomous life free of state control
  • The questions include the scope of the rights to life and liberty (i.e what is included in the first place) and when rights may be limited, or restricted, in the pursuit of social and communal goals


100% research essay of 6,500 words due 12 noon, Thursday 15 June 2017.

Course details

Semester: One
Study mode: Intensive
Dates: 4-6 May
Location: Room 340
1-11 Short Street
Value: 15 points
Assignment due date: 12 noon, Thursday 15 June 2017

Contact details

Law Student Centre
Level 2, 1-11 Short St