Considering Professional Misconduct and Best Interests of a Child (Palliative Orders)

(2017) Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 14(1), 19-22

U. of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2018-116

Posted: 10 Sep 2018

See all articles by Bernadette Richards

Bernadette Richards

University of Adelaide - School of Law

Date Written: September 3, 2018


A recent decision of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal is worthy of a brief discussion because it helps to define the parameters of professionalism and endorses the significance of responsible conduct of research. In Australia the different State Medical Boards are now combined under a central body, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) which was established through a National Act (Health Practitioner Regulation National Law) in 2010. Under the National Act, an appropriate Board or Tribunal may determine that a health practitioner has acted in a manner that constitutes unsatisfactory professional performance, unprofessional conduct, or professional misconduct (s196) and each of these is of escalating severity. Professional misconduct is defined under the Act to include conduct that is … substantially below the standard reasonably expected of a registered health practitioner of an equivalent level of training or experience, and: more than one instance of unprofessional conduct; and conduct of the practitioner whether occurring in connection with the practice of the health practitioner’s profession or not, that is inconsistent with the practitioner being a fit and proper person to hold registration in the profession. (s5) And unprofessional conduct is explained quite broadly as "improper or unethical conduct in relation to professional practice" therefore categorizing behaviour requires reference to external evidence such as Codes of Conduct and other regulatory instruments. However, to amount to professional misconduct there needs to be evidence of a pattern of behaviour ("more than one instance") and there must be a clear link with clinical practice, both of which were significant in the current decision.

Keywords: Professional Misconduct, Best Interests of a Child, Palliative Orders

JEL Classification: K00, K30, K32, K39

Suggested Citation

Richards, Bernadette, Considering Professional Misconduct and Best Interests of a Child (Palliative Orders) (September 3, 2018). (2017) Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 14(1), 19-22, U. of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2018-116, Available at SSRN:

Bernadette Richards (Contact Author)

University of Adelaide - School of Law ( email )

Adelaide, South Australia 5005

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