Lane v Northern NSW Local Health District

On 11 December 2014 the High Court refused to grant special leave to appeal in the matter of Lane v Northern NSW Local Health District [2014] HCASL 240. The Court described the application in respect of the consent given by Mrs Lane’s guardian as ‘misconceived’. The matter otherwise gave rise to no question of principle and had insufficient prospects of success.

In the earlier Court of Appeal decision, Lane v Northern NSW Local Health District (No 3) [2014] NSWCA 233 the self represented appellants had sought compensation for psychiatric injury arising from the death of their mother whilst in hospital, following consent to palliative treatment provided by their father.

The trial judge accepted that each of the appellants suffered a psychiatric condition that was related, at least in part, to the death of their mother. However, he did not accept that there was negligence on the part of the hospitals’ staff in the treatment of their mother.

The Court of Appeal had dismissed the appeal, but in doing so touched on some issues of general interest in respect of end of life care and decision making guidelines.