Health is commonly associated with such terms as hospital, doctor, illness, and treatment. However, the term health is not commonly associated with the legal field, yet health law and policy are a core part of the healthcare system. Health law encompasses a variety of issues and intersects with a variety of other areas of law, including tax law, employment law, contract law and Constitutional law. Dr. Hilary Young, a professor at the University of New Brunswick’s Faculty of Law, has done research in the field of health law along with her work in defamation.
Most recently, Young has published “A Proposal for Access to Treatment Contrary to Clinical Judgment” (2017), which examines if physicians are responsible to deliver treatment at patient request if it goes against their clinical judgement. Additionally, Young’s paper “Why Withdrawing Life Support Should Not Require “Rasouli Consent,” (2012) discusses consent in relation to life-sustaining medical treatments. This paper was cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2013 (Cuthbertson v. Rasouli,  3 SCR 341.)
Currently, Young is working with the Law Commission of Ontario on their defamation law reform project. Along with Dr. Emily Laidlow of the University of Calgary, Young wrote a report on the responsibility of intermediaries (Google, Facebook, etc.) for user-generated defamation under current law, and changes that should be made.
Following the completion of a doctorate in linguistics from Rice University, Young began her legal career by completing an LL. B. at the University of Ottawa. A course in health law as well as time as a research assistant with a professor working in privacy law began developing Young’s interest in health law. From this, Young became interested in law related to organ donation. Following her time at the University of Ottawa, Young completed her LL. M. (Masters in Law) at Harvard Law School.
Young clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada, where she had the opportunity to work on a highly publicized case, A.C. v. Manitoba (Director of Child and Family Services) (2009). This case revolved around a blood transfusion for a teenager with religious beliefs against receiving such a treatment. Her time as a clerk on this particular case helped to develop Young’s interest in informed consent, an area of health law in which she has continued to research throughout her legal career.
While research is one aspect of Young’s career, she also spends time teaching those entering the legal world at UNB’s faculty of law. Her role as a professor has allowed Young to translate the knowledge she has acquired to the lawyers of the future. Along with teaching, Young believes in the importance of knowledge translation to the general public, who help pay the salaries of scholars. An example of this includes taking the time to contribute to public debate through opinion-editorial articles that utilize language accessible to the everyday, average person.