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The High Court and Wrongful Life Claims: How Should It Decide?

Bagaric, Mirko, Dimopoulos, Penny,

Academic Literature


The High Court of Australia has granted special leave to hear a wrongful life claim. This is the first action of its type that will be determined by the High Court. A wrongful life action is a claim brought by a disabled child who asserts that but for a physician's negligence he or she would not have been born, thereby being spared the suffering of life. The action is inherently controversial because the alternative to an impaired life is nonexistence. Lord Griffiths has described such claims as 'utterly offensive: there should be rejoicing that the hospital's mistake bestowed the gift of life upon the child. This paper cuts through the rhetoric that the debate has generated and analyses whether there is a sound doctrinal basis for recognising wrongful life actions.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : The High Court Quarterly Review

Location : Australasia

Domain/s: Community and civic participation

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