Victorian Supreme Court accepts vaccination of children can be ordered, even against parents’ wishes

ZD v Secretary to the Department of Health and Human Services [2017] VSC 806 (22 December 2017)

The Supreme Court of Victoria held that the Children's Court Magistrate had the power to authorise the vaccination of three young children as a condition of interim accommodation orders under the Children Youth and Families Act 2005, contrary to the wishes of both parents. Justice Osborn held that s 263(7) of the CYFA is only capable of one interpretation and therefore the rights under the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (VIC) were not relevant to the construction of the subsection.

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South African High Court finds corporal punishment of children unconstitutional

YG v S (A263/2016) [2017] ZAGPJHC 290; 2018 (1) SACR 64 (GJ) (19 October 2017)

The South African High Court has ruled the common law defence of reasonable or moderate chastisement is no longer applicable at common law in South Africa. The landmark judgement found no justification for permitting the use of corporal punishment against a child which would otherwise constitute assault but for the invocation of the defence.

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The Charlie Gard case: UK High Court rules against experimental medical treatment for a terminally ill child

Great Ormond Street Hospital v Yates [2017] EWHC 1909 (Fam) (24 July 2017)

In a high-profile dispute between the parents of a terminally ill child and doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital over the child’s course of treatment, the UK High Court found that the best interests of the child require that he not be given experimental medical treatment and instead be taken off life support.

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Victorian Supreme Court finds establishment of youth justice centre at Barwon adult prison contrary to human rights and unlawful

Certain Children by their litigation guardian Sister Marie Brigid Arthur v Minister for Families and Children & Ors [2017] VSC 251 (11 May 2017)

The Victorian Supreme Court has found for the third time that the Victorian government acted unlawfully with children's human rights and best interests in breach of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 by establishing the Grevillea unit at Barwon prison as a youth justice centre and remand centre, transferring children to the Grevillea unit and using OC spray and extendable batons on children.

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Victorian Court of Appeal upholds finding that establishment of youth justice centre at Barwon adult prison unlawful

Minister for Families and Children v Certain Children by their Litigation Guardian Sister Marie Brigid Arthur [2016] VSCA 343 (29 December 2016)

The Victorian Court of Appeal upheld a Supreme Court decision that the Victorian Government's decision to establish a youth justice centre inside the Barwon maximum security adult prison was unlawful. The Court held that the Minister and Governor in Council failed to have regard to children’s rights and Victoria’s legal obligations but overturned a finding that the Minister had acted for an improper purpose in establishing the facility.

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Victorian Supreme Court finds decision to detain children in Barwon prison invalid due to failure to consider children's rights

Certain Children by their Litigation Guardian Sister Marie Brigid Arthur v Minister for Families and Children [2016] VSC 796 (21 December 2016)

The Supreme Court of Victoria has found that orders made in November 2016 establishing the Grevillea unit at Barwon Prison as a youth justice facility were invalid and of no effect because of a failure by the defendants to take into account certain relevant entitlements and duties under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic). Garde J held that the use of the facility as ‘emergency accommodation’ was an improper or extraneous purpose to that required for the exercise of relevant powers under the CYF Act.

Garde J also held that the defendants failed to give proper consideration to provisions of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic).

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High Court of Australia declines to extend limitation period in claim concerning vicarious liability of educational and care institution in sexual abuse case

Prince Alfred College Incorporated v ADC [2016] HCA 37 (5 October 2016)

In the recent decision of Prince Alfred College Incorporated v ADC [2016] HCA 37 (5 October 2016), the High Court of Australia acknowledged the that the law in relation to the vicarious liability of educational and care institutions when an employee commits sexual offences against children, is unclear. However, because the Court ultimately declined to extend the statutory limitation period relevant to the claim by a former boarding student who had resided at Prince Alfred College in 1962 and was the victim of sexual abuse, the issue of vicarious liability was not determined.   

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Scotland's Named Persons Scheme: balancing children's welfare against privacy rights

Case of The Christian Institute and others v The Lord Advocate (Scotland) [2016] UKSC 51 (28 July 2016)

In a recent judgment, the United Kingdom Supreme Court unanimously blocked the introduction of the Scottish Government's Named Persons scheme (Scheme), due to its incompatibility with article 8 (right to private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Scheme was part of a package of child welfare measures introduced under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (the Act).

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ECHR finds failure to recognise parents of children born as a result of international commercial surrogacy violates the right to privacy

Case of Foulon and Bouvet v France (Application No’s 9063/14 and 10410/14) (21 July 2016) 

The European Court of Human Rights (the Court) has delivered a judgment protecting the rights of children born as a result of international commercial surrogacy to have their relationships with their biological parents legally recognised. The Court unanimously found that refusal by French authorities to transcribe the birth certificates of children born under surrogacy agreements in India violated the children's right to respect for private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention). The judgment resolves past uncertainty as to whether the Court's earlier decisions on surrogacy would extend to same-sex families.

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The right to privacy in the internet age: PJS v News Group Newspapers

PJS v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2016] UKSC 26

A married celebrity had a threesome. His partner wasn’t one of the three. The affair was published widely on the internet outside the UK. A UK newspaper wanted to publish the story too. Demonstrating that it takes the right to privacy seriously in the age of the internet, the Supreme Court in May 2016 upheld an injunction preventing the publication of the story in the UK.

The decision confirms that the right to privacy protects not just secrecy, but intrusion into private life. Therefore the fact that the information was already publicly accessible was not fatal – the injunction would prevent additional intrusion and harm to the applicant and his family caused by print publication.

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