Ethics, Law and Equity

Ethics, Law & Equity is interdisciplinary in approach, covering political philosophy, medical ethics and law, linking into a number of different areas of research within the Institute. Led by Associate Professor David Hunter, we are particularly interested in areas where political philosophy and careful consideration of organisational and structural issues can open up new approaches to the issue at hand.

Key areas of expertise

  • Research Ethics
  • Public Health Ethics
  • Ethical and legal implications of the social determinants of health
  • Issues of equity in healthcare distribution and prioritisation
  • Luck, responsibility and equity in regard to health outcomes
  • Consent issues in healthcare
  • Medical Tourism
  • Professional Regulation of healthcare
  • Civil Liability of healthcare practitioners

Items of Interest - 2015

A/Professor David Hunter was recently interviewed for an article in MJA InSight. For the full article view here.

Dr David Hunter recently published a guest blog with AHRECS (Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services). For a link to this blog click here.

Past Events

The Health Ethics, Law and Policy Group (HELP) symposium on Challenges in Research Integrity was held on Thursday, 8 May 2014 1.00pm - 4.00pm.  For further information please see the  Flyer (PDF 167KB)


The Health Ethics, Law and Policy Group (HELP) held their first annual South Australian Networking Event for Human Research Ethics Committees (SANE HREC) on Tuesday 15 July 2014. For further information, please see the  Flyer (PDF 164KB)


The Health Ethics, Law and Policy group at Flinders held their first talk of 2014, on Thursday, 20 February 2014. Dr Muireann Quigley,  Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Ethics & Law in the Centre for Ethics in Medicine at the University of Bristol gave a talk entitled Regulating Health (Choices): Nudges as Health Policy Instruments? For further information please see  The Health Ethics, Law and Policy group flyer (PDF 77KB)

Current Projects

Quality assessment for research ethics review (CIHR)
Investigator: A/Prof David Hunter 
Partner: Stuart Nichols, University of Ottawa

Ethical implications of the impact of cognitive biases on research ethics committee decision making
Investigator: A/Prof David Hunter

Arguing against the future – examining arguments against future technologies outside of the ambit of specific technologies.
Investigator: A/Prof David Hunter 
Partners: Iain Brassington, University of Manchester, Mark Sheehan, Oxford University


Selected publications

  • Hunter, D. (2013). How not to argue against mandatory ethics review. Journal of Medical Ethics. 39, pp.521-524.
  • Worswick, D.G. (2012). Obtaining Informed Medical Consent: A legal perspective. Law Society Bulletin Sa, 34(1), pp.22-26.
  • Hunter, D & Wilson, J. (2012) The role of local government in promoting health equity. British Medical Journal, 345, e4881.
  • Hunter, D & Wilson, J. (2011). Briefing paper on Ethical Issues in Hyperexpensive Treatments and the Prioritisation of R&D. Nuffield Council on Bioethics.
  • Hunter, D. Dawson, A. (2011). Is there a need for global health ethics?  Pros and cons'. pp.77 -88 in Global Health and Global Health Ethics edited by Gillian Brock & Soloman Benatar, Cambridge University Press.
  • Hughes, J. Hunter, D. Sheehan, M. Wilkinson, S. Wrigley, A. (2010). European Textbook on Ethics in Research. European Commission, Directorate-General for Research Science, Economy and Society, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.
  • Hunter, D. Oultram, S. (2010). The ethical & policy implications of Rogue Medical Tourism. Global Social Policy, 10, pp. 297-299.
  • Wilson, J. Hunter, D. (2010). Research Exceptionalism.American Journal of Bioethics, 10(8), pp.45-54.
  • Hunter, D. (2007). Proportional Ethical Review and the Identification of Ethical Issues. Journal of Medical Ethics. 33, pp.241-245.
  • Hunter, D. (2007). Am I my Brother's Gatekeeper? Professional Ethics & the Prioritisation of Health Care.Journal of Medical Ethics. 33, pp. 522-526.
  • Young, R.W., Worswick, D.G. and Stoffell, B.F. (2001). Complementary Medicine in Intensive Care: Ethical and Legal Perspectives. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, 29(3), pp.227-238. [online].

Key Staff

A/Prof David Hunter

Director, Ethics, Law and Equity


Mr David Worswick

Research Fellow


Dr Matt Fisher

Research Fellow


PhD Students

Kingsley Whittenbury


Title: Critical consciousness for social injustice in healthcare and health improvement among first and final year Medicine students at two south Australain Medical Schools; a comparative study.Kingsley Whittenbury


PhD and Masters by Research

We offer a dynamic and supportive environment for postgraduate students. For enquiries please contact the Ethics, Law and Equity director, A/Prof David Hunter, or Southgate Institute PhD Coordinator Dr Kathryn Browne-Yung