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

Professor, Health Law in a Global Context

prof. mr. dr. B.C.A. (Brigit) Toebes
+31 6 5434 1961 (mobile)


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. De rol en potentie van het internationaal recht in het reguleren van ongezond gedrag: mogelijke aanvullende internationale standaarden omtrent (on)gezond voedsel en alcohol in het licht van tabaksontmoediging

    Gispen, M. E., Hesselman, M. & Toebes, B., 2018, Ongezond en (on)geoorloofd : Publiek- en privaatrecht & legale maar gezondheidsbedreigende producten en diensten . Keirse, A. L. M., Kool, R. S. B. & Ortlep, R. (eds.). Den Haag: Boom Juridische uitgevers, p. 237 253 p. (Utrecht Centre for Accountability and Liability Law (UCALL); vol. 13).

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

  2. Een rookvrije omgeving in het belang van het kind

    Faber, T., Breunis, L. J., Been, J. V. & Toebes, B., 29-Jan-2020, In : TSG: Tijdschrift voor Gezondheidswetenschappen.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

  3. The right to health and the privatization of national health systems: A case study of the Netherlands

    Toebes, B., 30-Oct-2006, In : Health and Human Rights. 9, 1, p. 103-128 26 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

  4. Preface

    Burci, G. L. & Toebes, B., 1-Jan-2018, Research handbook on global health law. Burci, G. L. & Toebes, B. (eds.). Edward Elgar Publishing, p. xiii-xiii

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscriptAcademic

  5. European Court of Human Rights

    Hendriks, A. & Toebes, B., 1-Dec-2012, In : European Journal of Health Law. 19, 5, p. 515-523 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/Letter to the editorAcademicpeer-review

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  1. CRC State reports "Tobacco control"

    Gispen, M. E. (Data Manager), University of Groningen, 4-Mar-2019


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  1. Honorary Lecturer

    Brigit Toebes (Recipient), 1-Aug-2008

    Prize: Honorary degreeAcademic

  2. Honorary Lecturer

    Brigit Toebes (Recipient), 2009

    Prize: Honorary degreeAcademic

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  1. PhD defense committee Erna Kusumawati

    Brigit Toebes (Examiner)

    Activity: ExaminationSupervision of PhD studentsAcademic

  2. Najaarsvergadering 2019

    Brigit Toebes (Organiser)

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conferenceAcademic

  3. Heidelberg workwhop: international health governance

    Brigit Toebes (Invited speaker)

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conferenceAcademic

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Press / Media
  1. Law can help to make a healthy lifestyle accessible to everybody

    Brigit Toebes


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert CommentPopular

  2. De wet eist dat de overheid de gezond­heid van burgers beschermt

    Brigit Toebes


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert CommentPopular

  3. Farmabedrijven moeten naar maatschappelijke zorgplicht handelen

    Brigit Toebes


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert CommentProfessional

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