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Monday, 31 May 2010 00:00

Castles v Secretary to the Department of Justice - May 2010

This case was an appeal against a decision by the Secretary of the Department of Justice to refuse Ms Castles' request for access to IVF treatment whilst in a low security prison. Ms Castles had been undergoing IVF before her imprisonment, was nearing the age at which IVF would no longer be available and was in prison for a short period.

The Commission intervened to make submissions on the obligations of Corrections and the Secretary to the Department of Justice as public authorities to act compatibly with human rights.

The Supreme Court held that the requirement to give proper consideration of human rights required the decision-maker to consider the possible impact of the decision on a person's human rights, but that this need not be a sophisticated legal exercise. The Court ordered the Department to allow the applicant access to the relevant medical treatment, subject to an assessment of any countervailing security or other concerns on a visit-by-visit basis.

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