1119 | Global Health Law and the Pandemic

Course Information

  • 2021-22
  • 1119
  • 5-Year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.), LL.M., Master's Programme in Public Policy
  • III, IV, V
  • Jul 2021
  • Elective Course

This Elective course is offered to students of the BA LLB (III, IV & V Year), LLM and MPP (II Year) programme.


The Full term elective course on “Global Health Law and the Pandemic” will have a taught  component and a practical component. The taught component includes lectures and Socratic – style discussion. The practical component is a policy simulation. Even though the field of global health law is not well-developed, it has always been a political field of high visibility. The course adopts an interdisciplinary approach to explore relationships with other foundational courses including public international law, human rights law, international trade law, intellectual property law, and environmental law. Considering the immense scale and trans-national impact of COVID-19, public health has taken centre-stage in international policymaking. It is important for law students to understand the significant role of international law and global governance mechanisms in countering public health concerns such as pandemics.

In the midst of a global pandemic, this course provides an insight into the international frameworks governing global health. This ranges from negotiations at the WHO on an international treaty to boost pandemic preparedness to the deliberations at the WTO on an intellectual property waiver for equitable access to vaccines.The course adopts a lecture-based approach to the most important aspects of law, theory and politics of global public health. The main emphasis of the course is to discuss “Global Public Health” in normative terms and focus upon the role of international law and global governance, especially institutional actors like the World Health Organization.

The course will make use of the Socratic method to explore and understand cross-cutting debates in global health governance such as – access to affordable medicines, bio-surveillance, trade in endangered species, alternatives to patenting, pricing of therapeutics, ownership of genetic information and erosion of trust in multilateralism.

For an in-depth understanding, the course presents an opportunity to engage with contemporary issues through a policy simulation.The policy simulation is based on the ongoing negotiations at the World Trade Organisation over the TRIPS waiver and other trade related measures addressing the pandemic. During the WTO policy simulation, students will take on the role of a government negotiator, a key non-state actor or an interest group. The  collective task is to see if the students can reach common agreement on trade-related measures to address the pandemic.