Tanious v Australian Medical Council Limited and ; Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency [2015] NSWSC 447 concerned an application by a person seeking registration as a medical practitioner. Ultimately the court decided that no legal foundation was disclosed under which the court might substitute its own views for those of the appropriately qualified representatives of the Australian Medical Council who supervised the assessment and who assessed the plaintiff’s performance.

The person had undertaken two assessments but failed most components of the clinical assessment part. At [9] the court noted that:

The general objective of the clinical assessment is to evaluate the clinical competence and performance of a candidate in terms of his or her medical knowledge, clinical skills and professional attitudes, with a view to ensuring the safe and effective clinical practice of medicine in the Australian community. The clinical assessment includes an assessment of the ability of a candidate to (inter alia) take a history, conduct a physical examination and, by integration of the information obtained, engage in a reasonable discussion of the diagnosis and management. The assessment also focuses on the candidate’s ability to communicate effectively with the patient.

At [33] – [34] the court held:

The plaintiff’s application for relief against the first defendant seeks to involve this Court in the process of clinical assessment generally, and specifically in the determination of a candidate’s performance and the assignment of specific grades to particular aspects of that assessment. The plaintiff is, in effect, asking this Court to substitute its own views for those of the appropriately qualified representatives of the first defendant who supervised the assessment and who assessed the plaintiff’s performance. As Buchanan J observed in Walsh there is no legal foundation for doing so. No reasonable cause of action is disclosed against the first defendant.

The shortcomings in the plaintiff’s case against the second defendant are even more fundamental. The second defendant played no part in the clinical assessment about which the plaintiff is aggrieved. The second defendant has made no decision or determination in respect of the plaintiff at all. It follows that no reasonable cause of action is disclosed against the second defendant.

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