Australia: 7th Intensive Legal Training Course on Law and NCDs takes place in Melbourne

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The McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer recently completed its 7th Intensive Legal Training Course on law and noncommunicable disease prevention, which took place in Melbourne from 25 September to 13 October. 17 participants from 14 WHO FCTC Parties – Bangladesh, Guyana, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Mozambique, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Swaziland, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tonga and Uganda – took part.

We were pleased to also be joined by representatives of the Australian Department of Health, who shared Australia’s experience in implementing the WHO FCTC, particularly in developing and defending tobacco plain packaging, and in implementing Article 5.3.

The course builds capacity in the use of law to prevent cancer and other NCDs, in the context of ensuring coherence across health, sustainable development, human rights, trade, and investment laws and sectors. It is primarily aimed at government lawyers in low- and middle-income countries. The course covers obligations under and implementation of the WHO FCTC, legal challenges to tobacco control measures under trade, investment, and domestic law, and lessons learned from challenges to Australia and Uruguay’s tobacco packaging and labelling measures, set in the context of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, the global NCD agenda, and human rights law. It also covers the use of law to regulate other NCD risk factors, including the use of law for alcohol control and obesity/overweight prevention, as well as practical insights into multisectoral coordination, enforcing and implementing laws, and policy development.

A central feature of the course is the opportunity for participants to share experiences with each other. In the session on challenges to WHO FCTC implementation in domestic courts, participants from Bangladesh, Kenya, Philippines, Thailand, and Uganda shared lessons learned from defending their tobacco control laws from legal challenges by the tobacco industry. In the session on enforcing laws, participants from Liberia, Solomon Islands, and Malaysia shared practical insights into enforcing and implementing tobacco control laws in limited-resource settings.

In addition to taking part in the three-week course in Melbourne, participants complete a pre-course country situation analysis, and are supported by the McCabe Centre to undertake a priority project in an area of their choice upon returning home.

The course, conducted in collaboration with the Secretariat to the WHO FCTC as a McCabe Centre Knowledge Hub activity, was primarily supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with additional support for participants received from the William Rudder Memorial Fund, the Pacific Community, the UNDP Pacific Office, the WHO Country Office for Malaysia, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

We have now had 135 participants from 61 countries since we started running the program in 2014.

For enquiries about the course, please contact the WHO FCTC Secretariat at fctcsecretariat [at]

McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer
McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer
We are fighting for a world that is free from preventable cancer – and where people affected by cancer have equitable access to treatment and care. Designated WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub for legal challenges to tobacco control measures.