Public Health Law and Ethics


To possess a general and articulated knowledge of the key legislation of the health system and of some of the most important legal areas in health care, such as the rights and duties of patients, liability for clinical damages, medical malpractice and the protection and confidentiality of health data;

To be able to identify Law and Ethics as essential in practical interaction in the Health System and as tools for quality improvement in the management of healthcare units and in the delivery of care. 

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Available soon


Weekly - Available soon

Total - 22

Teaching language



Available soon


-      Faria, P.L., Cordeiro, J. V. - Public Health: current and emergent legal and ethical issues in a nutshell. In Knoppers and Joly (eds) Routledge Handbook of Medical Law and Ethics. Ed. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Ltd. 2014, pp 369-389, ISBN 9780415628181

-      Faria, P.L., Moreira, P.S.,Pinto, L.S - Direito e segurança do paciente In Segurança do Paciente: conhecendo os riscos nas organizações de saúde. Org. Paulo Sousa; Walter Mendes, Editora Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro EAD/ENSP, 2014, pp 115-134

-      Faria, P.L. - Medical Law in Portugal, Ed. Kluwer Law International BV, The Netherlands, 2010, Download on, ISBN 978-90-411-3313-7

-      Faria, P.L. (Ed.)- The Role of Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights to Promote a Safer and Healthier World  – Ed. FLAD e ENSP-UNL, Lisboa, 2006,  ISBN 972-98811-4-6

-      Mariner, W.K. and Faria, P.L. (Eds) - Law and Ethics in Rationing Access to Care in a High-Cost Global Economy – Ed. ENSP-UNL e Boston University School of Public Health, Lisboa,2008,ISBN 978-9729-98811-9-0  

Teaching method

The teaching methods are appropriate to the nature of the various types of contents in the program:

- Contents 1, 2, 5,6 and 7 – Course sessions with a higher component of expositive methods by the teacher/s;

- Contents 3 and 4 – Course sessions using the case study method.


- Collaboration during the classes (10%);

Individual test/exam (90%). 

Evaluation method

Available soon

Subject matter

1.  Health Law, Bioethics and Biolaw: concepts and basic elements;

2.  Fundamental principles, Law and statutes of the Health System, the National Health Service, and hospitals;

3.  Rights and obligations of users / patients (with particular emphasis on issues such as informed consent, refusal of care, confidentiality and data protection, and professional secrecy);

4.  Legal regime of civil and criminal liability for injuries to health;

5.  Ethical committees and its role in healthcare units;

6. European Law: provision of cross border healthcare;

7. Patient safety and the Law.


Programs where the course is taught: