Maldoff workshop highlights health law beyond the ‘juridical’

Posted By Prof. Angela Campbell – Feb. 17, 2010


Last Tuesday evening (Feb 9), the Research Group on Health and Law was thrilled to welcome Me Eric Maldoff of the national law firm, Heenan Blaikie, to deliver our second workshop in health law for 2009-2010 entitled Health Law on the Ground. Me Maldoff is an exceptionally skilled jurist whose experience spans across an impressive breadth of topic areas. In his presentation, he offered a number of stories drawn from his practice as a lawyer and negotiator which spoke to the challenges of legal work that engages with health law and health care governance. Recounting tales of his own involvement with negotiations over the new MUHC super hospital, the creation of the CIHR and, as a student-at-law, in the Morgentaler litigation before the Supreme Court, Me Maldoff’s workshop offered incredible insight into the power that the legal profession can wield in developing and reforming social policy and law, specifically in connection with health and health care.

Based on the questions that followed the presentation, it seemed that the topic Me Maldoff addressed that engaged most strikingly with audience members was his work with the Innu of Davis Inlet as Chief Federal Negotiator. The issues raised touched on matters of education, development and poverty rather than explicitly on healthy. At the same time, health law-related matters were embedded in his discussion. Specifically, Me Maldoff suggested that questions about how to craft meaningful educational opportunities for a population that has been affected so adversely by a legacy of colonialism, poverty and social and political exclusion and neglect requires a careful analysis of the health status of a community. So, too, does this endeavour require an investigation into health care access in this setting. How is it possible to develop appropriate schooling programs and to ensure that the population accepts and completes these programs without working with the community and appreciating whether and how they members themselves as a healthy population in all respects? The workshop revealed how meeting these objectives required a careful and holistic analysis, a willingness to learn with and from negotiating partners, and a perception of well-being that extends beyond what can be provided by medical resources alone.

In sum, these experiences recounted by Me Maldoff illuminate how engaging with the world of health law must mean more than appreciating the doctrine of consent or the Canada Health Act. Rather, it is a world that demands openness to the study of various disciplines, to work across a range of cultural and community settings, and a solid degree of courage and vision with a view to effecting durable improvements in health outcomes. None of this, of course, should be viewed as new or surprising, but instead, should reaffirm an understanding of health law as necessarily drawing upon a range of skills and a body of knowledge that might not necessarily be construed as “juridical” at first glance but which undoubtedly benefits from the knowledge.

NOTE: The next workshop of the McGill Research Group on Health and Law will take place on Tuesday, April 13 at 5 pm. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Anne Crocker, Director, Services, policy and population health axis at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute (

Professor Angela Campbell
Convener, McGill Research Group on Health and Law

Welcome to the MJLH’s new Health Law Blog!

Posted By The MJLH | RDSM Team – Jan. 15, 2010

Welcome to the MJLH’s Health Law Blog!

Over the coming weeks and months we hope that this blog will assist YOU, the reader, in staying up to date, informed and enthralled with the dynamic and budding field that is at the intersection of health, legal, policy, and ethical issues.

Over the course of the last four years, the MJLH has been at the forefront of confronting the standard shibboleths lurking behind the academic journal. While we have retained what we consider its best qualities – commitments to rigorous peer review and excellence in publication – we have been at the vanguard of changing technologies. Our dedication to being student-run, our focus on the intersection(s) of health and the law, and our online open-access platform clearly set us apart from our contemporary peers.

In the spirit of continued innovation we are thus pushing to find fresh ways that we can reach new audiences and further the diffusion of ideas and discussion. To that end we have decided to launch a blog as part of the redevelopment of our website.

The blog’s purposes and goals will be multifold.

Firstly, we hope to be able to publish material that, while valuable, would not necessarily be published in an academic journal. Through our blog, contributors will be able to provide content such as case comments, op-eds and reflection pieces (to name only a few). As is often the case, many writers and critics have a great idea but perhaps not the time or the resources to get it published and into public discourse.

Secondly, we hope to facilitate discussion about issues in law and health. The blog will allow for readers to become part of the conversation by leaving commentary on blog posts.

Thirdly, we aim to serve as a bridge for different branches of the legal profession and the greater community to enter into dialogue with each other. Often it seems that those working in different areas of the law are isolated in their own communities with little cross-disciplinary dialogue. We hope to remedy that by providing a space where not only scholars, but also legal practitioners, law students and invested community members can contribute to public discussions.

It is an exciting time to be involved in health and the law. Not only has the area received increasing academic attention but also new technologies have the potential to redefine the way in which the academy, the legal community and the general public confront health law issues head on. It is our goal that our new Health Law Blog becomes one forum for those discussions and debates!


Your team at the MJLH.