prof. mr. dr. B.C.A. (Brigit) Toebes

Professor, Health Law in a Global Context

prof. mr. dr. B.C.A. (Brigit) Toebes


Postal address:
United Kingdom

Research interests

My research focuses on how international legal standard-setting instruments play a role in the protection of health. ‘International health law’ is not a well-developed branch of international law. The health-related standards are very fragmented and they lack adequate implementation by all the stakeholders in the health field. Moreover these standards insufficiently emphasise equitable access and distribution of health services, and the creation of overall fairness in health.


International law is potentially a powerful and essential weapon in strengthening health prevention and control. As the recent ebola crisis has demonstrated, health problems increasingly transcend borders. However, ebola and other infectious diseases are not the only health problems the world is facing today. We are witnessing a change in disease patterns, some of which are lifestyle-related; increasing health inequalities within and between nations; as well as the detrimental health effects of environmental degradation, climate change, urbanization and internal conflicts. Powerful actors such as the pharmaceutical industry but also the tobacco, food and beverage industries now structurally operate on a global level. All this is affecting the health and wellbeing of individuals worldwide, and especially those who are marginalized and disadvantaged. A stronger recognition of international health law is necessary to address these challenges in the health field.


Based on my 20 years of experience advancing human rights standards for the health field, my overall research goal is to lay out the theoretical and practical fundament for international health law. As such, my research is aimed at creating a better understanding of the nature and scope of international health law, and of how this field can be best employed to address global health injustices.



  1. Toward Human Rights-Consistent Responses to Health Emergencies: What Is the Overlap between Core Right to Health Obligations and Core International Health Regulation Capacities?

    Toebes, B., Forman, L. & Bartolini, G., Dec-2020, In : Health and Human Rights. 22, 2, p. 99-112 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  2. Vrijheid en privacy moeten soms wijken voor de volksgezondheid

    Toebes, B., 4-Sep-2020, In : Trouw. 2020

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlePopular

  3. Covid-19 puts the spotlight on international law and Human Rights

    Toebes, B., Sep-2020, Conquering Complexity: Perspectives on COVID-19 . Lammersma, J. & Faghihi, I. (eds.). Groningen: TEIMUN, p. 45-47 3 p. (The TEIMUN Journal; vol. 2020, no. 1).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionProfessional

  4. Socioeconomic Health Inequalities in Europe: The Role of Law and Human Rights

    Toebes, B., Sep-2020, The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Health Law. Orentlicher, D. & Hervey, T. (eds.). Oxford University Press, (Oxford handbooks online).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

  5. Conclusions

    Toebes, B., Aug-2020, Human Rights and Tobacco Control. Gispen, M. E. & Toebes, B. (eds.). Edward Elgar Publishing, p. 266-275 9 p. (Elgar Studies in Health and the Law).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

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  1. CRC State reports "Tobacco control"

    Gispen, M. E. (Data Manager), Veraldi, J. (Data Collector), Beyer, M. (Data Collector), Rusli, N. (Editor) & Toebes, B. (Contributor), University of Groningen, 4-Mar-2019


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  1. Honorary Lecturer

    Toebes, Brigit (Recipient), 1-Aug-2008

    Prize: Honorary degreeAcademic

  2. Honorary Lecturer

    Toebes, Brigit (Recipient), 2009

    Prize: Honorary degreeAcademic

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  1. First International Virtual Conference on "Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Crisis and its Legal and Moral Liabilities related to Public Health Precaution"

    Brigit Toebes (Invited speaker)


    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conferenceAcademic

  2. Mediating tensions between infectious disease control and individual rights

    Brigit Toebes (Speaker)


    Activity: Talk or presentationAcademic

  3. The Alternative War on Drugs (Event)

    Brigit Toebes (Member)


    Activity: MembershipMembership of committeeAcademic

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Press / Media
  1. Privacywet belemmert testen zorgpersoneel

    Brigit Toebes


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert CommentPopular

  2. ‘Je moet erbovenop zitten om de controle te houden’

    Brigit Toebes


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert CommentPopular

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