Social structures compound, reproduce, and cement unfair inequalities, including in our health opportunities and outcomes. This is true both within and between countries. Laws, and powers exercised under the authority of law, sit amongst the key systems that may harm, or be used in the service of achieving, better health with justice. As Professors Lawrence O. Gostin, John T. Monahan, and colleagues have written in their recent Lancet Commission report on The Legal Determinants of Health: “Law can be a powerful tool for advancing global health, yet it remains substantially underutilised and poorly understood. Working in partnership, public health lawyers and health professionals can become champions for evidence-based laws to ensure the public’s health and safety.”
The University of Bristol’s Centre for Health, Law, and Society is very pleased to be hosting a symposium to help mark the launch of this important report, to explore practical challenges in harnessing the power of law for global health with justice, and to discuss and debate critical questions in relation to the meanings of equity and social justice in the context of population health. We are delighted that Professor Monahan will introduce the report, which is available here, in a talk on Legal Determinants of Health: Harnessing the Power of Law. Following Professor Monahan’s talk, Professor Sarah Hawkes, Director of UCL’s Centre for Gender and Global Health and Professor of Global Public Health, will deliver a lecture entitled Socially Constructed Determinants of Global Health—The Case of Law and Gender.
After the lecture, Professor Gostin will chair a panel including Professors Hawkes and Monahan, and the University of Bristol’s Professor John Coggon, Dr Geetanjali Gangoli, Professor Rachael Gooberman-Hill, and Professor Deborah Lawlor. The panel will promote multi-disciplinary discussion of the topics, and encourage insights, comments, and questions from the audience.