McCabe Centre hosts first-ever online legal training course

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The Knowledge Hub on Legal Challenges (McCabe Centre for Law & Cancer) wrapped up its 2020 online legal training course on law and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) earlier this month after a successful first session.

A total of 35 lawyers, policymakers and World Health Organization (WHO) officials registered for the six-week virtual course, which focused on building capacity among low- and middle-income countries in using the law to prevent and control NCDs. More than 70% of registrants went on to complete the course.

This first-ever online course was adapted from the McCabe Centre’s in-person three-week intensive legal training course, which is normally held in Melbourne but was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Since 2014, the McCabe Centre’s International Legal Training Program has trained more than 200 government lawyers and policymakers from 70 countries, with major support for the program provided by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“During this challenging year, we are grateful we can continue to empower people from around the world to develop, implement and defend laws aimed at stopping the world’s biggest killers: NCDs,” says Hayley Jones, Acting Director of the McCabe Centre. “The ongoing pandemic, and the emerging links between COVID-19 and NCDs, have made this work more important than ever.”

The course’s seven modules covered a wide range of topics, including the relationship between law and NCDs, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, legal measures to address NCD risk factors, trade and investment law and Universal Health Coverage. Offered over six weeks, the course was comprised of instructional videos, discussion forums, live videoconference sessions and other interactive content.

Developed in partnership with Cancer Council Victoria’s Learning and Innovation Hub, the course attracted participants from 19 WHO FCTC parties. Feedback from participants has overwhelmingly been positive.

“The online legal training course equipped us with a unique skill set: to design and implement effective law and policy interventions for NCD prevention and control and handle national and international legal challenges to various NCD measures.” says Purva Singh, National Legal Consultant (NCDs), WHO Country office for India.

“It was a great learning experience with live sessions and interactions with international NCD and legal experts who guided us in applying the concepts to our respective national/regional context. I’m grateful to the McCabe Centre team for the well-curated course and the enriching experience.”

Now that the inaugural online legal training course is complete, the McCabe Centre is working to improve and refine the course and offer it again in May 2021.

“Thanks to all the dedicated participants who helped make our first-ever online course a success,” Hayley says. “While we can’t wait to meet in person once again, we are making the most of the unique opportunities digital learning can provide.”


Find out more about the McCabe Centre’s International Legal Training Program.

Daniel Punch
Daniel Punch
Communications Manager, McCabe Centre for Law & Cancer