Book Review: Populations, Public Health, and the Law

Journal of Legal Medicine, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2009

POPULATIONS, PUBLIC HEALTH, AND THE LAW, Wendy E. Parmet, ed., Georgetown University Press, 2009

Posted: 21 Dec 2009

See all articles by Elizabeth Weeks

Elizabeth Weeks

University of Georgia School of Law

Date Written: September 15, 2009


This is an invited book review of a monograph by Wendy Parmet, the George J. and Kathleen Waters Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law at Northeastern University. Parmet proposes a new approach, called “population-based legal analysis," which considers the impact of laws and judicial decisions on the population as a whole, rather than individual parties to a lawsuit. Her starting premise is that protection and promotion of public health is a fundamental objective of the law. After defining the paradigm in the opening chapters, Parmet guides readers to reconsider traditional areas of law, including Constitutional Law, Torts, Health Law, and Bioethics, through the lens of population-based legal analysis. The reviewer differs with some of the author’s views on the scope of public health law and the near-universal relevance of population health to legal decisions perspective and but concludes that the public health law scholarship is undeniably enriched by Parmet's stimulating contribution.

Suggested Citation

Leonard, Elizabeth, Book Review: Populations, Public Health, and the Law (September 15, 2009). Journal of Legal Medicine, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2009. Available at SSRN:

Elizabeth Leonard (Contact Author)

University of Georgia School of Law ( email )

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States


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