Support available to WHO FCTC parties

The McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer’s Knowledge Hub on legal challenges to WHO FCTC implementation offers support to WHO FCTC parties through training and knowledge dissemination. In some circumstances, we are also able to provide direct technical support to parties. Our work covers:

  • Defending tobacco control measures against legal challenges, whether under domestic (e.g. constitutional/administrative) law, international trade law, or international investment law
  • Ensuring policy coherence across health, trade, investment, sustainable development and human rights in the context of WHO FCTC implementation

All requests for assistance from the Knowledge Hub are coordinated through the Convention Secretariat. Please contact the Secretariat at for inquiries about our work, nominations for our training courses, or requests for regional/national training or technical support.

Specific activities we conduct include:


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person workshops planned for 2020 have been postponed until further notice. We will offer online-only courses in 2021 with the format of our trainings to be reviewed in 2022 and beyond. Parties interested in nominating participants for our courses should contact the WHO FCTC Secretariat to discuss their needs.

Training events held at the McCabe Centre

During 2018-2020, a number of training events were held at the McCabe Centre in Melbourne. We will hold several of these events online in 2021, in both self-paced and live formats.

Training on law and noncommunicable diseases

These events, primarily targeted at government lawyers from low- and middle-income countries, build capacity in the use of law to prevent cancer and other NCDs, particularly in the context of developing coherence between health, trade, investment, sustainable development and human rights.

Our courses include

In-person courses (held in 2018-2019, currently on hold due to COVID-19 pandemic)

  • An annual intensive 3-week course.
  • A 1-week workshop for program alumni held in 2018
  • A 1-week executive level course held in 2019

Online courses (to be held in 2021)

  • Our online legal training course was launched on 21 September 2020 and live for six weeks. The course will be conducted again in 2021 – parties should contact the WHO FCTC Secretariat for details and to nominate participants for the course. The course will also incorporate content from our in-person executive course and is suitable for both senior officials and technical officers.
  • Live online events for alumni of our in-person training courses, including a virtual workshop to be held in 2021 and a regular series of online meetings

Participants are selected in collaboration with the Convention Secretariat and WHO Regional Offices. These events will be conducted with primary funding support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Workshops on the WTO challenges to Australia's tobacco plain packaging laws 

We conducted workshops on the findings and implications of the WTO decisions on Australia’s tobacco plain packaging measures in  2018 and 2020. A workshop on the WTO panel report was held in November 2018 and an online training was conducted from November to December  2020 on the WTO Appellate Body decision. These workshops were conducted with primary funding support from the Australian Department of Health.

Regional, subregional, and national trainings

We conduct regional, subregional and national trainings which build on our Melbourne events, in collaboration with the WHO FCTC Secretariat, WHO regional and country offices, UNDP regional and country offices, regional organizations, national governments, and civil society.

Resources and knowledge dissemination

Knowledge Hub website

Our knowledge hub website provides:

Research and publications

We regularly develop publications on legal challenges to tobacco control measures for both academic and practitioner audiences, and contribute to publications produced by others. A selection of our papers and resources are republished and linked on our Knowledge Hub website. View our further resources page or our updates on our research for more details.

Direct technical support

We support the Convention Secretariat in responding to WHO FCTC parties’ requests for technical support within our areas of expertise. These are handled on a case-by-case basis.