Damages for 'Wrongful Birth': Where to after Cattanach?

18 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2004

See all articles by Martin Vranken

Martin Vranken

University of Melbourne - Law School


In Cattanach v Melchior a majority of the High Court of Australia held that damages for wrongful birth can include compensation for the cost of raising a healthy child. The case raises questions about what it is that constitutes harm for purposes of bringing a claim in negligence. This article critically reviews the High Court decision in light of the continental-European experience. It is suggested that the recent House of Lords decision in Rees offers a workable compromise for both proponents and opponents of compensation.

Keywords: Australia, High Court of Australia, tort, damages, wrongful birth, negligence, House of Lords, compensation

JEL Classification: K13

Suggested Citation

Vranken, Martin, Damages for 'Wrongful Birth': Where to after Cattanach?. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=583601

Martin Vranken (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

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