Health, medicine and law

  • Lifting ban on patient testimonials in advertising will risk public safety

    8th Jun 2022

    Lifting the current ban on patient testimonials being used in health services advertising will expose the public to preventable dangers and risk public safety, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • Drug law reform in NSW will save lives: Proposed drug diversion program small step in the right direction

    2nd Jun 2022

    Reforming drug laws in NSW will save lives says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) in response to the Attorney-General’s proposal to trial a pre-court drug diversion program.

  • Rural and regional health inquiry report welcome but must be actioned urgently

    5th May 2022

    The NSW Government is urged to promptly implement the recommendations in the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry’s report into rural and regional health to help prevent further tragedies caused by failures in the system, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • Investment in rural and regional health services will save lives and money

    3rd Dec 2021

    Increased investment in health services in rural and regional NSW will prevent deaths and injuries caused by under-resourcing, lack of staff and systemic failures, and will reduce the burden of medical negligence claims, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • Lawyers call for ban on advertising cosmetic surgery to u18s

    16th Nov 2021

    Banning the advertising of cosmetic procedures to children is one of a suite of regulatory actions lawyers are recommending to help keep consumers safe. 

  • Laws regulating cosmetic surgery advertising must be strengthened to protect consumers

    28th Oct 2021

    The current laws regulating the advertising of cosmetic surgery are not sufficient to ensure public safety, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • ALA calls on Government to take evidence-based approach to drug policy

    6th Sep 2021

    The Cannabis Decriminalisation Bill 2021 proposed last week should be tabled and voted to committee so that an evidence-based approach can be used to inform drug policy in Tasmania, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • Welcome protection for patients with govt’s new vaccine indemnity scheme

    2nd Jul 2021

    The Government’s announcement today that a new COVID-19 indemnity scheme will protect patients as well as health professionals is welcome, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • Vaccine compensation scheme falls short

    30th Jun 2021

    A vaccination compensation scheme is a step in the right direction but falls short of a comprehensive plan to overcome vaccine hesitancy, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • VAD bill welcome but better access needed for remote Queenslanders & those with long term illness

    25th May 2021

    Queensland’s proposed voluntary assisted dying bill is welcome but could be improved to ensure timely access for people living in remote areas, and to remove subjective rules around life expectancy time frames, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • Hunter left out of regional and rural health inquiry

    29th Apr 2021

    Hunter based health lawyer and Australian Lawyers’ Alliance (ALA) NSW spokesperson on health, Catherine Henry, is disappointed that the parliamentary inquiry brought on by the crisis in regional and rural health will not hold a hearing in the Hunter.

  • BYO bandages: The case for regional and rural health reform

    22nd Apr 2021

    Catherine Henry discusses the impact that inequitable health resourcing and services has on those living in rural, regional and remote areas. In particular, she addresses key issues including shortages of specialist practitioners, lack of regional cancer centres, and the unacceptably wide gap in the health outcomes of First Nations communities.

  • Fighting racism in the healthcare system

    8th Apr 2021

    Despite the common belief that the Australian health system treats everyone equally, George Newhouse and Karina Hawtrey argue that the system operates in a way that disproportionately excludes and harms First Nations people. They discuss the ways in which legal advocates can recognise and assist in fighting racism, including by implementing firm-wide anti-racism policies and taking on cases of medical negligence faced by First Nations clients.

  • Lawyers welcome inquiry into rural and regional health to prevent further tragedy

    16th Sep 2020

    The NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into rural and regional health announced yesterday is a positive step towards preventing further tragedies caused by failures in the system, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • Why releasing some prisoners is essential to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

    9th Apr 2020

    To prevent prisons becoming COVID-19 hotspots, Prof Thalia Anthony argues that the only logical response is decarceration; an emergency measure that is necessary to protect both the health and wellbeing of prisoners and the wider community. Thalia highlights the particular vulnerability of  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners, and eventually their families and communities. Indigenous people who are exposed to infection in prisons will return to communities that are ill-equipped to respond to a COVID-19 outbreak; especially communities in regional and remote areas where there is a glaring lack of health services and resources.

  • The next asbestos? Could Monsanto’s weedkiller Roundup cause cancer?

    8th Aug 2019

    Tim Downie explores the growing litigation surrounding the effects of the weedkiller Roundup. 

  • Lawyers say voluntary assisted dying scheme is consistent with current laws that allow a patient to refuse treatment

    21st May 2019

    The introduction of a voluntary assisted dying scheme in Queensland, which allows eligible people to self-administer medication that will end their lives, is consistent with existing laws that prioritise patient autonomy and would enable people to die in a dignified manner, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • AHPRA, OHO and no further action – Do I have a claim?

    11th Apr 2019

    What happens when the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) confirm that they are not taking a matter further, that there is no case to answer or that they believe the treatment by the health organisation or health practitioner was appropriate? Does this mean that the legal case should be abandoned? If the regulatory body is not critical of the health organisation or practitioner’s conduct, what is the claimant’s chance of succeeding in a medical law claim?

  • Language barriers, informed consent and interpreters in medical care

    16th Aug 2018

    The pitfalls that occur when patients and healthcare providers are unable to understand each other due to language barriers, and what can and should be done in such situations to facilitate communication. 

  • Implementation of the Paramedicine Board of Australia

    19th Jul 2018

    From September 2018, all paramedics across the country will be required to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and complaints referred to the newly created Paramedicine Board, aiming to ensure the safety of the public from fake paramedics. Up until now there was no national standard for registration.

  • Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld) health claims, s9 or s9A?

    30th Nov 2017

    Confusion can arise as to the application of s9 and s9A of the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld).

  • The Urogynaecological Mesh scandal

    7th Sep 2017

    Approximately 50% of women who have had children will suffer some degree of pelvic organ prolapse. For thousands of those women, urogynaecological surgical mesh has been presented as a viable option. It is only recently that public has been made aware of the associated physical and psychological complications. 

  • Orthopaedic eponyms

    31st Aug 2017

    This glossary explains some of the more commonly used eponyms to help those outside the medical profession better understand medical reports.

  • Psychometric testing of malingering

    10th Aug 2017

    Professor Ian R Coyle discusses the accuracy of Symptom Validity Assessment Tests (SVTs) in assessing the psychological status of litigants and identifying malingering


  • Pain and psychological conditions

    9th Mar 2017

    Pain and psychological conditions: ‘which comes first, the chicken or the egg’?

  • Complex regional pain syndrome: a diagnostic challenge for clinicians

    2nd Mar 2017

    Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a condition that is frequently disputed in personal injury compensation claims. Even for clinicians who regularly see cases of CRPS it can represent diagnostic difficulties. For other clinicians who see cases of CRPS less frequently, it maybe wrongly referred to as Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome or Chronic Pain Syndrome.

  • Pain medicine physicians and pain management programmes

    23rd Feb 2017

    Pain medicine is a relatively new medical speciality that can be used to assess personal injury cases where pain is a major contributing component to impairment and disability. This article outlines the specialist training, examination and expertise that distinguishes pain medicine physicians from other medical specialists and the difference between a pain medicine physician and pain management programmes (PMPs).

  • Nervous shock & psychiatric claims after the loss of a child

    16th Feb 2017

    The law in Australia as it currently stands has the capacity to compound a parent’s grief in such circumstances and generate more than justified contempt towards the legal system. Particularly given the widely accepted view across the community would be that entitlement to compensation in such horrific circumstances would be considered both reasonable and appropriate.

  • GP chaperones – is a review warranted?

    30th Nov 2016

    The need for chaperones for medical practitioners in private practice has received a lot of media attention in the past few weeks.  With attention-grabbing titles such as “Chaperone ordered for Canberra GP accused of “grooming” female patient’, and ‘Darwin doctor banned from examining women without supervision’, one would be forgiven for believing there was an epidemic. 

  • Police PTSD claims show insurers cannot be trusted - lawyers

    2nd Aug 2016

    The experience of police officers claiming compensation for PTSD shows insurance companies need to be held to account, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Lawyers call for independent inquiry into SA chemotherapy under-dosing

    10th Jun 2016

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) have today called for an independent inquiry into incidents of chemotherapy under-dosing at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).

  • Systemic failures to blame for infant deaths at Bacchus Marsh Hospital

    20th Nov 2015

    Paula Shelton investigates the factors that lead to substandard medical care, injury and death. 

  • Cosmetic vs plastic surgery

    13th Nov 2015

    The difference between seeking cosmetic or plastic surgeon can be significant, writes barrister Ngaire Watson. 

  • Medical negligence law over the past year

    10th Sep 2015

    Olamide Kowalik analyses the developments in the area of medical negligence by reference to pivotal decisions in Australia over the last 12 months.

  • Nips and tucks abroad

    4th Sep 2015

    Victoria Gallanders investigates the jurisdictional issues in the fast-growing industry of cosmetic surgery tourism.

  • Courageous detention centre staff challenge the government

    1st Jul 2015

    Courageous staff from immigration detention centres have today challenged the federal government to prosecute them, as the Border Force Act 2015 commences as law. The ethical and legal dilemma posed to these professionals is considerable with the full consequences yet to come, writes lawyer Ebony Birchall. 

  • Doctors should obtain legal advice before treating asylum seekers

    19th Jun 2015

    Medical professionals working in immigration detention centres should obtain legal advice about their professional liability following new legislation which could gag them from speaking out about poor conditions for detainees, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Asylum seeker cover-up allegations constitute abuse in care

    31st Jul 2014

    Allegations that the Department of Immigration tried to cover up mental health problems amongst child-aged asylum seekers constitutes abuse in care and may leave the Commonwealth liable for a swathe of future compensation claims, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Injured to bear burden of rising healthcare costs

    2nd May 2014

    Injured workers, people with disability, and people living with chronic illness will bear the burden of rising healthcare costs proposed by the Commission of Audit, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • Future patients in the dark

    14th Apr 2014

    Future patients are currently in the dark when it comes to knowing if health practitioners have had complaints lodged about them or conditions placed upon their practice, writes Ngaire Watson.

  • Fed Gov's plain packaging law a winner - ALA

    15th Aug 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance today congratulated the Federal Government on its landmark High Court win upholding the constitutionality of its plain packaging tobacco legislation against the challenge of tobacco companies.

  • More govt funds needed for drug prevention and treatment

    24th May 2012

    “Today’s Institute of Criminology Report, released by the Justice Minister Jason Clare, linking drug use levels to crime, shows the only way to stop such criminal behaviour is by diverting funds from prison construction to drug prevention and treatment,” Australian Lawyers Alliance National President Greg Barns said.

  • ALA welcomes support on health-based drugs policy

    3rd Apr 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance welcomed the Australia 21 report to be released today by prominent Australians such as, Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr, former Health Minister Michael Wooldridge, former AFP Commissioner Mick Palmer and former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery QC, arguing that the 40-year war on drugs has failed and a new approach, that includes decriminalising some substances, should be adopted.