Health, Poverty and Social Justice - LAWS9450

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This international interdisciplinary module will provide students with the opportunity to critically analyse the role of law in relation to (broad understandings of) health, poverty, and social justice, with a particular focus on welfare, resilience and precarity for vulnerable groups. The module draws on increased acknowledgement of links between poverty and health, including mental heath, and contestation of contradictory accounts that disaggregate poverty and poor health outcomes.
To examine these themes, the module will explore a series of linked case studies on areas of law, asking, in each context, the question of how the law ameliorates or compounds poor health and welfare outcomes. The case studies will be reviewed annually, but for example, the fire at Grenfell Tower might be used as a common theme to open discussion of case studies on the law relating to fire safety, housing conditions, building regulations/urban planning, homelessness, disability, mental health provision, responses to disaster, and environmental law. In each case study, historical context will be explored alongside contemporary legal and policy concerns, drawing together regulatory structures, and redress including state enforcement and investigations, and private claims.


Contact hours

Contact Hours: 18
Private Study Hours: 182
Total Study Hours: 200


LLM in (Specialisation); PG Diploma in (Specialisation); PG Certificate in Law

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Essay (5,000 words) – 100%

Reassessment methods

100% coursework

Indicative reading

• Helen Carr, Caroline Hunter, Brendan Edgeworthy, Law and the Precarious Home, Socio-legal perspectives on the home in insecure
times, Hart, 2018
• Edwin Chadwick, Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain, 1842.
• Vickie Cooper and David Whyte, The Violence of Austerity, Pluto Press, 2017.
• Barry Knight, Rethinking Poverty: what makes a good society, Policy Press, 2017.
• Isabel Lorey, State of Insecurity, Government of the Precarious, Verso Futures, 2015.
• Chris Renwick, Bread for All: The origins of the welfare state, Allen Lane, 2017.
• Jill Stewart, Pioneers in Public Health, Lessons from History, Routledge Focus, 2017.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of a range of critical perspectives on the relationship of health and poverty.
2. Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of relevant laws and regulations which impact on the intersection of health and poverty.
3. Critically identify how different legal and regulatory practices can ameliorate or compound poor health and welfare outcomes in a range of
4. Critically engage with broader academic debates in the field.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module, students will be able to:

1. Produce a creative and sophisticated original argument drawing on independent research.
2. Undertake a comprehensive and critical analysis of complex, incomplete or contradictory information.
3. Conduct advanced research, making proper use of appropriate resources, demonstrating the ability to retrieve up-to-date information.
4. Work independently and be reflective, self-directed and self-critical in their work.
5. Set out critical analysis in a clear and accessible way, demonstrating careful and accurate use of the English language.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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