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The goal of improving public health involves the use of different tools, with the law being one way to influence the activities of institutions and individuals. Of the regulatory mechanisms afforded by law to achieve this end, criminal law remains a perennial mechanism to delimit the scope of individual and group conduct. Utilising criminal law may promote or hinder public health goals, and its use raises a number of complex questions that merit exploration. This examination of the interface between criminal law and public health brings together international experts from a variety of disciplines, including law, criminology, public health, philosophy and health policy, in order to examine the theoretical and practical implications of using criminal law to improve public health.
John Coggon argues that the important question for analysts in the fields of public health law and ethics is 'what makes health public?' He offers a conceptual and analytic scrutiny of the salient issues raised by this question, outlines the concepts entailed in, or denoted by, the term 'public health' and argues why and how normative analyses in public health are inquiries in political theory. The arguments expose and explain the political claims inherent in key works in public health ethics. Coggon then develops and defends a particular understanding of political liberalism, describing its implications for critical study of public health policies and practices. Covering important works from legal, moral, and political theory, public health, public health law and ethics, and bioethics, this is a foundational text for scholars, practitioners and policy bodies interested in freedoms, rights and responsibilities relating to health.
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