Insights Categories: Litigation

Dec 6, 2019

INSIGHT: General practitioner successfully appeals negligence finding

Abstract A Sydney-based general practitioner has successfully appealed a finding of negligence based on an alleged failure to refer a patient for specialist treatment in the context of particular pathology results (which predated his involvement in the patient’s care) on a background of a chronic and prolonged health condition.   District Court proceedings [1] Mr […]

Nov 18, 2019

INSIGHT: VCAT confirms that disciplinary consequences may befall practitioners who treat their own family

In 2019 we have seen an increased focus by AHPRA and the National Boards on ensuring the observance of professional boundaries between registered health service providers and their patients.  In our experience, investigations into professional boundary transgressions are most commonly triggered when a romantic relationship between the practitioner and the patient turns sour. However, these […]

Nov 13, 2019

INSIGHT: A reminder about the potential strength of ‘usual practice’ evidence

Phelan v Melbourne Health [2019] VSCA 205 Defending or even assessing the merits of an action in medical negligence can often be challenging when the medical practitioners involved cannot recall the particular patient concerned. Through no one’s fault, memory can be impeded by the lapse of time and high patient volume loads. As such, it […]

Feb 18, 2019

INSIGHT: Restrictions on the use and disclosure of confidential communications between a victim of sexual assault and treating health practitioners

Legislation in Victoria now protects the medical and counselling records of victims of sexual assault from disclosure in Court hearings.[1] The legislation is directed at:- ‘remedying the mischief of sexual assault victims being deterred from reporting or giving full information to doctors or counsellors in the course of their treatment, because of uncertainty and fear […]

Feb 5, 2019

INSIGHT: Federal Court confirms strict interpretation of the 80/20 rule under the Health Insurance Act 1973

In a recent decision, the Federal Court of Australia confirmed that health care practitioners alleged to have engaged in ‘inappropriate practice’ in providing 80 or more professional services on each of 20 or more days during a relevant period are burdened with the evidentiary onus of establishing that there was an absence of alternative medical […]

May 31, 2018

INSIGHT: Sparks v Hobson; Gray v Hobson [2018] NSWCA 29: Is this a prelude to the expansion of the peer professional opinion defence in NSW?

A recent decision by the NSW Court of Appeal has given rise to hopes that the current interpretation of the words “competent professional practice” as they appear in section 5O of the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW) (the Act) may soon be revised. Two members of the judiciary commented critically on the standing interpretation of […]

Apr 7, 2017

INSIGHT: Meridian Lawyers named in Best Lawyers in Australia 2018 edition

Media Release: Australia’s Best Lawyers announcement on 7 April 2017 named Meridian Lawyers Special Counsel Peter Axelrod as a Lawyer of the Year for Aviation Law, following his recognition by Best Lawyers® in this area of law for the past 10 years. Meridian Lawyers congratulates seven Principals for their recognition as amongst the best in Australia in the 10th […]

Feb 29, 2016

INSIGHT: When is an expert the right expert?

Posted by Julie Somerville, Principal Meridian Lawyers: Expert conclaves are here to stay and, despite there being differing views as to their cost effectiveness, issues often arise as to who should participate in the conclave and who possesses the correct expertise to opine on an issue. Last year I wrote about the need to ensure that the […]

Aug 4, 2014

INSIGHT: The dentist as an independent expert witness

When a patient sues a dentist alleging negligence it is the role of the court to weigh up the evidence and then make a determination – unless the parties resolve the dispute otherwise. This involves making findings of fact (e.g. the dentist did not perform an x-ray before proceeding with treatment) and then applying the […]