Advance Directives and the Promotion of Autonomy: A Comparative Australian Statutory Analysis

Journal of Law and Medicine, 17, pp. 556-581

46 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2016

See all articles by Lindy Willmott

Lindy Willmott

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

Legislation regulating advance directives exists in six Australian jurisdictions. In all of these jurisdictions, legislation was enacted to enshrine the common law right of a competent adult to refuse treatment in advance, even if that treatment was required to sustain life. It was thought that enshrining the common law would also enshrine the principle of autonomy on which the common law was based. This article explores whether this is the case by examining the legislative restrictions that are imposed on a competent adult who wishes to complete an advance directive refusing treatment. The article reviews the legislation in all Australian jurisdictions and concludes that, while many of the legislative restrictions can be justified, many cannot as they effectively erode rather than promote the right of a competent adult to refuse treatment.

Keywords: advance directives, refusal of treatment, withdrawing and withholding treatment, legislation, autonomy

Suggested Citation

Willmott, Lindy, Advance Directives and the Promotion of Autonomy: A Comparative Australian Statutory Analysis (2010). Journal of Law and Medicine, 17, pp. 556-581. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2808932

Lindy Willmott (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/willmott/

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