Frequently asked questions about stage 1 and 2 treatment
Last updated 1 September 2023
Including the time it takes to obtain medical reports and affidavit evidence from parties, it will take several months before the matter is finalised. It may take longer if one party actively opposes the treatment proceeding. An application will not go straight to a substantive hearing. There will usually be several “procedural” hearings early in the matter to set up the timetable for the matter and deal with any preliminary issues.
If an application is required, an application to the Court can be made by:
a parent/guardian of the child;
the child themselves;
a grandparent of the child;
any other person concerned with the welfare of the child.
An application must be served on the “prescribed child welfare authority”, which is currently the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.
To make the application, affidavit evidence must be collected from medical and psychiatric experts, parents, guardians, and other individuals involved in the child’s upbringing. The matter will then be listed for hearing.
If the application is being made by a parent then they will usually have to attend Court for the hearing. The lawyers and barristers will be talking directly to the Judge and answering their questions. If a parent/guardian has filed an affidavit in support of the application, they may be cross examined when the hearing progresses.
It is not possible for the child to enter into a Court session without permission from the Judge.
The child can provide evidence in the form of an affidavit, if they have made the application, or if the Court gives them permission.
What the Court needs to decide will depend on the facts before it. The Court may only need to declare that the child is Gillick competent. Or the Court may consider it is necessary to look at the medical evidence and authorise the treatment.
A party can request that the hearing be “closed”, meaning that no one other than the parents or guardians of the child and their lawyers can enter the Courtroom and listen to the proceedings. It is also common practice for the Court to “anonymise” the case, meaning the child and parties will be given a pseudonym so they cannot be identified.
Lawyers are required by law to protect client privacy and confidentiality throughout the entire process leading up to, including, and after the Court hearing.
During the Court hearing, the names of all participants (including the child, their family members, and lawyers) will be suppressed by an order of the Court. This means that no-one will be able to access any information that could identify any of the individuals involved in the case, nor will they be able to access the Court’s records.
This resource was last updated on 1 September 2019. This is legal information only and does not constitute legal advice. You should always contact a lawyer for advice specific to your situation. Please view our disclaimer for more information.