Our research

End of Life research group team members

Major societal changes add urgency to the need to design effective regulation of end of life decision-making.

A rapidly ageing population profile (1 in 5 Australians will be aged over 65 by 2030) leads to even more decisions about dying. Dementia cases will triple between 2011 and 2050 which has implications both for the number of end of life decisions and how they are to be made (e.g. when the person is unable to decide for themselves).

Linked to this ageing population are increasing patient demands and ‘health consumerism’, with more people demanding greater control over how they live and die.

In addition to this, relentless advances in medical technology can now keep people alive for longer but potentially in poorer states of health and at significant cost.

Our research seeks to address these challenges by contributing to the development of an effective and just regulatory framework for end of life decision-making.

End of Life Law in Australia website

End of Life Law in Australia aims to provide accessible information about law at the end of life for patients, families, health and legal practitioners, the media, policymakers and the broader community.

Current and past funded projects

Our research has been funded by the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council and Commonwealth and State governments. It has had a significant impact, leading to changes in law, policy and practice.

  • Ben White, ‘Enhancing End-of-Life Decision-Making: Optimal Regulation of Voluntary Assisted Dying’, 2020-2023, ARC Future Fellowship
  • Paul Komesaroff, Jennifer Philip, Ian Kerridge, Lynn Gillam, Cameron Stewart, Peter Hudson, Alexander Holmes, Ian Olver, Ben White, Sophie Lewis (Lindy Willmott as Associate Investigator), ‘A new direction in end of life care? Assessing the impact and outcomes of the Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying Act’, 2019-2022, NHMRC
  • Lindy Willmott, Ben White, Patsy Yates and Malcolm Parker, ‘Development and Delivery of Voluntary Assisted Dying Training’, 2018-2020, Victorian Government, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Ben White, Lindy Willmott, Patsy Yates and Shih-Ning Then, ‘End of Life Law for Clinicians’, 2017-2020, Commonwealth Government, Department of Health
  • Nicholas Graves, Ken Hillman, Lindy Willmott, Ben White, Gillian Harvey, Leonie Callaway, Magnolia Cardona-Morrell, Adrian Barnett and Xing Lee, ‘Reducing Non-Beneficial Treatment at the End-of-Life’, 2018-2021, NHMRC
  • Consortium of QUT (overall project lead: Professor Patsy Yates), Flinders University (lead: Professor Jennifer Tieman), University of Technology, Sydney (lead: Professor Deborah Parker), Palliative Care Australia, Aged and Community Services Australia, Leading Age Services Australia, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, Catholic Health Australia, ‘End of Life Directions for Aged Care’, 2017-2020, refunded 2020-2023, Commonwealth Government, Department of Health
  • Ben White, Lindy Willmott, Cheryl Tilse, Jill Wilson, Deborah Lawson, Jeffrey Dunn and Angela Pearce, ‘Enhancing community knowledge and engagement with law at the end of life’, 2014-2017, ARC Linkage Project
  • Wendy Hoy, Helen Healy, Luke Connelly, Geoffrey Mitchell, Kathryn Panaretto, Zoltan Endre, Jeff Coombes, Professor Glenda Gobe, Ann Bonner and Robert Fassett (Ben White as Associate Investigator), ‘Chronic Kidney Disease Centre of Research Excellence’, 2014-2018, NHMRC
  • Patsy Yates, Geoffrey Mitchell, David Currow, Kathy Eager, Helen Edwards, Lindy Willmott, Ann Bonner, Robyn Clark and Jennifer Tieman (Ben White as Associate Investigator), ‘NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in End of Life Care’, 2013-2017, NHMRC
  • Lindy Willmott, Ben White, Cindy Gallois, Malcolm Parker, Nick Graves and Sarah Winch, ‘Futile treatment at the end of life: legal, policy, sociological and economic perspectives’, 2012-2014, ARC Linkage Project
  • Cheryl Tilse, Jill Wilson, Ben White and Linda Rosenman, ‘Families and generational asset transfers: making and challenging wills in contemporary Australia’, 2011-2014, ARC Linkage Project
  • Ben White, Lindy Willmott, Colleen Cartwright, Malcolm Parker and Gail Williams, ‘ Withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment from adults who lack capacity: The role of law in medical practice’, 2009-2012, ARC Linkage Project
  • Cheryl Tilse, Jill Wilson, Anne-Louise McCawley, Ben White and Lindy Willmott, ‘Enduring documents – improving the forms, improving the outcomes’, 2009-2010, Legal Practitioner Interest on Trust Accounts Funds Grant Fund
  • Lindy Willmott and Ben White, ‘Improving service provision by legal practitioners to clients in relation to enduring powers of attorney and advance health directives’, 2005-2006, Legal Practitioner Interest on Trust Accounts Funds Grant Fund