Interveners or Interferers: Intervention in Decisions to Withhold and Withdraw Life-Sustaining Medical Treatment

The Sydney Law Review, 27(4), pp. 597-621, 2005

27 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2016

See all articles by Lindy Willmott

Lindy Willmott

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Ben White

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Donna Cooper

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2005

Abstract

This article considers intervention in proceedings about withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment. Since the early 1990s, there have been a number of important decisions, both in Australia and overseas, about whether life-sustaining treatment should be withheld or withdrawn from an adult who no longer has capacity to make the decision for himself or herself. In almost all of these decisions, intervention by a non-party to the matter has been an issue. This article explores the rules of intervention in applications to appear as a party and as amicus curiae, and considers those rules in the context of decisions to withhold and withdraw life-sustaining medical treatment. The relevant cases are examined as are the advantages and disadvantages of intervention in these circumstances. The article concludes by suggesting a model for intervention that strikes the appropriate balance between ensuring all relevant issues are placed before the court while still respecting the intensely private nature of a decision to withhold or withdraw a life-sustaining measure in any given case.

Keywords: End of life decision-making, Withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment, Amicus curiae, Interveners

Suggested Citation

Willmott, Lindy and White, Ben and Cooper, Donna, Interveners or Interferers: Intervention in Decisions to Withhold and Withdraw Life-Sustaining Medical Treatment (2005). The Sydney Law Review, 27(4), pp. 597-621, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2806848

Lindy Willmott

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://staff.qut.edu.au/staff/willmott/

Ben White (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://staff.qut.edu.au/staff/whiteb/

Donna Cooper

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Australia

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
13
Abstract Views
143
PlumX Metrics