Legal Determinants of Health

Panellists discuss the immense power of the law to advance the right to health.

Members event, Panel Recording
28 October 2019 — 6:00PM TO 7:30PM
Chatham House | 10 St James's Square | London | SW1Y 4LE

The law is central to virtually all aspects of public health. Tobacco control laws aim to reduce smoking, food product regulations encourage healthy nutrition, vaccination laws have saved millions of lives, pollution laws and environmental regulations safeguard the public’s health in a myriad of ways and perhaps, most importantly, law and regulation establish systems for universal health coverage.

The rule of law itself is essential for human health and wellbeing. However, while legal frameworks can determine if people’s right to health can be realized, laws can also embed discrimination, criminalization, licenses to pollute and other ills that undermine public health. How can the law safeguard health, promote equality and translate vision into action and sustainable development?

This panel launches The Lancet, O’Neill Institute and Georgetown University Commission on Health and Law report The Legal Determinants of Health.

  • What are the barriers to law reform?

  • How can relevant parties build support for the expanded evidence and rights-based use of law to advance global health?

  • How can the world move forward on several contemporary prominent opportunities and challenges such as sugar taxes, mandatory vaccinations and legal responses to antimicrobial resistance?

  • And how can law and legal instruments be used to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage?


Yasmin Batliwala, Chief Executive, A4ID

Lady Hale of Richmond, President, The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

Lawrence O. Gostin, Co-Chair, The Lancet, O’Neill Institute and Georgetown Commission on Legal Determinants of Health; Chair in Global Health Law, O’Neill Institute; Director, World Health Organization Collaborating Center on National & Global Health Law

John Monahan, Co-Chair, The Lancet, O’Neill Institute and Georgetown Commission on Legal Determinants of Health

Dr Sharifah Sekalala, Associate Professor, University of Warwick

Baroness Tonge,  Member of the House of Lords

Rob Yates, Head, Centre on Global Health Security, Chatham House

Chair: Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet

Become an individual member

Individual membership provides you with the complete Chatham House experience, connecting you with a unique global policy community.

A member takes the opportunity to ask the panel a question at our event on the digital revolution.
Find out more Auto insert on member events