Medico-Legal 2022 Congress

Legal and medical perspectives on the latest clinical developments in Aotearoa New Zealand

Event Details


Registration and coffee
Mihi Whakatau
Opening remarks from the Chair
Iris Reuvecamp, Principal , Vida Law
Looking back and looking forward: Latest developments in the medico-legal space in NZ
  • What can we learn from the COVID-19 pandemic so far?

- Equity challenges

- The role of technology

- Medico-legal issues

  • As the clock ticks down to 01 July 2022, what can we expect from the health sector reforms?

- New directions and priorities?

- New structures – central control versus local input

- Latest developments and timelines for implementation

Aisling Weir, Special Counsel, Buddle Findlay
Updates on the Mental Health Act review
  • Assessing the review outcome thus far and the process for system delivery should the Bill pass
  • What will be the practical implications for organisations and clinical professionals?
  • Insights into Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill that provides for a new structure and new accountability arrangements for the public-funded health system in order to protect, promote and improve the health of all New Zealanders
Philip Grady, Acting Deputy Director – General Mental Health and Addictions, Ministry of Health
Dr Arran Culver, Acting Deputy Director - General, Mental Health & Addiction, Ministry of Health
End-of-Life Choice Act: Practical and legal perspective
  • How is the Act being implemented in practice?
  • Presenting of relevant data around uptake of assisted death - observations so far
  • What are the main challenges for providers and patients under the Act?
  • How might these challenges be managed in law, policy and practice?  
Dr Dana Wensley, Chair, End of Life Review Committee
Dr Jeanne Snelling, Senior Lecturer – Faculty of Law, University of Otago
Morning break
Striving for equity in healthcare: Medico-legal perspective

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission opened its doors on 9 February 2021. Establishing the Commission was one of the recommendations of the He Ara Oranga Government inquiry into mental health and addiction. The Commission performs an enduring role in transforming Aotearoa New Zealand's approach to mental health and wellbeing. This presentation will cover the following:

  • The role of the Commission and the legislation underpinning our work
  • Our advice on addressing inequities for Māori through Te Tiriti o Waitangi and how this can be applied to other priority populations
  • Exploring relevant Waitangi Tribunal claims, including the Waitangi Tribunal Health Services and Outcomes Inquiry (Wai 2575)
  • Our monitoring, reporting and advocacy work
  • Repeal and replacement of the Mental Health Act
  • How our transitional Te Huringa: Change and Transformation. Mental Health Service and Addiction Service Monitoring Report 2022 report fits in with the He Ara Āwhina (Pathways to Support) monitoring framework
  • Our Te Rau Tira Wellbeing Outcomes Report 2021
  • The Commission’s role in highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and wellbeing
Hayden Wano, Board Chair, Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission
When personal and professional views collide: Conscientious objection vs freedom of expression and belief in health care – an update on the law and discussion
  • The recent High Court case of New Zealand Health Professionals Alliance Inc vs Attorney-General (on conscientious objection in the new abortion law)
  • Conscientious objection in the End of Life Choice Act
  • What about ‘conscientious objection’ and other services – vaccination, cannabis, faith based care and services?  How does the law balance rights of freedom and expression in the professional context?
Holly Hedley, Senior Associate, Buddle Findlay
Coroners Court proceedings in relation to medical deaths
  • Reporting of hospital deaths to the coroner – myths and facts
  • Should a natural causes community death become a Coroners Court matter?
  • Factors that affect the Coroner’s decisions to hold discretionary inquests
  • The role of health practitioners in giving evidence in a coroner’s inquiry or inquest – when, why, how to prepare and what to expect
Anna Tutton, Deputy Chief Coroner, Coroners Court
Lunch break
ACC – recent developments and an ACC perspective
  • Understanding recent Court decisions and their implications
  • What does ACC need from the medical profession to make the right decisions?
  • Expert evidence and medical opinions – what does the Court want?
Ian Hunt, Partner, Young Hunter Lawyers
Interface between psychiatry and the law
  • Evaluating the legal processes affecting compulsory assessment and treatment
  • Forensic psychiatry - examining issues around fitness to plead, intellectually disability, capacity and mentally impaired offending
Dr Justin Barry-Walsh, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, Te Korowai Whāriki
Privacy issues in the health sector
  • Discussing the privacy issues that have arisen in the context of COVID-19
  • Addressing legal issues arising from cyber attacks and breaches directed at the health sector
  • Looking ahead – what privacy issues do we see on the horizon
Amy de Joux, Senior Legal Adviser, Office of the Privacy Commissioner
Afternoon break
Firearms legislation and what it means for health practitioners
  • What are health practitioners’ obligations when their patients apply for firearms licence?
  • What information do health practitioners need to record about their patients who own a firearm?
  • Identifying the correct procedure on when and how to notify the police of their concerns over their patient’s firearms possession
Caitlin Kearney, Policy Advisor, New Zealand Police
Criminal convictions of health practitioners in NZ
  • Outline of the disciplinary process for a health practitioner that is triggered by a criminal conviction
  • What role does Professional Conduct Committee play?
  • When does Health Practitioner Disciplinary Tribunal need to get involved?
Marie Dyhrberg, Queen’s Counsel - Criminal Law
Summary remarks from the Chair and networking drinks
Welcome back from the Chair
Iris Reuvecamp, Principal , Vida Law
Update from Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC)
  • Sharing the outcomes of the recent cases before the HDC
  • Highlighting the issues from recent complaints and how these are being resolved
  • Identifying the core human rights principles that are relevant in the health and disability setting
Jane King, Chief Legal Officer, Health and Disability Commission
Update on case law decisions within the health sector
  • Exploring recent development in case law and the medico-legal implications
  • Reviewing recent judicial review cases against public and private health care providers
Aimee Credin, Partner, Wotton + Kearney
Morning break
Collective action in a pandemic – balancing the "right to strike" with patient safety
  • Health professionals' duties of care and the "right to strike"
  • "Life preserving services" – how the system manages patient safety when health professionals take collective action
  • Collective action during a pandemic – an added layer of complexity
  • Legal considerations and recent cases
Nicola Cuervo, Special Counsel, Buddle Findlay
An overview of the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003 and the treatment of people with intellectual disability within the justice system
  • What are the key issues around the compulsory care and rehabilitation of prisoners and former special patients?
  • How to overcome the legal challenges?
  • Will the Ministry of Disabled People have a role in legal advocacy?
Samira Taghavi, Barrister & Practice Manager, Active Legal
The NZ Bill of Rights Act and arbitrary detention in residential dementia care in NZ
  • Examining the principle of legality and the PPPR Act: Does the Act actually authorise detention?
  • Can Right 7(4) authorise detention?
  • What might new legislation look like?  What procedures are involved?
Dr Frances Matthews, GP and Medico-Legal Advisor
Lunch break
Panel: Medico-legal issues around COVID-19
  • Vaccines and mandates for the healthcare and other affected workforces – what are ongoing issues and potential future challenges?
  • Maintaining safe workforce levels – legal and clinical and operational perspectives
  • Exploring responses to legal and clinical professionals spreading vaccine misinformation on social media?
  • How to discipline health practitioners for spreading misinformation on COVID-19?
  • Protecting continuity of services – legislated mandate health measures vs what your workplace needs
  • Role of clinical advice for the management of safe workplaces.  When do workplaces have to comply?
  • What are employers’ responsibilities towards those staff that become a close contact of a COVID-19 positive case and must isolate?
  • Exploring legal avenues for patients actively not complying with COVID-19 requirements
  • How should organisations respond to support their staff dealing with the increased frustration currently being expressed in workforces and in public facing roles?
Lieutenant Colonel James Kennedy-Good, Deputy Director - Defence Legal Services, NZ Defence Force
Toby Gee, Barrister and Mediator, Lambton Chambers
Dr Marta Rychert, Senior Research Officer, Massey University
Exploring the experiences of health workers in the pandemic: Legal and ethical issues in Australia

During public health emergencies, including the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding the rights and responsibilities of patients and health practitioners assumes greater importance than ever. The Frontline Health Workers Study was the world’s largest national multi-occupation study of health workers’ experiences during the pandemic. A series of case vignettes - drawn from the findings of this study and Professor Bismark’s clinical experience - will be used to explore some of the legal and ethical challenges that arose for those providing care during the pandemic.

Professor Marie Bismark, Professor – Public Health Law, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health (Australia)
- Co-author of Experiences of Health Workers in the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Medicinal Cannabis Scheme: Implementation update and prescribers’ perspectives
  • Update on the implementation process and ‘approved’ domestic cannabis-based products
  • Prescribing patterns and the impact of private cannabis clinics
  • Patterns of medicinal cannabis use in Aotearoa New Zealand.  What type of medicinal cannabis users are likely to transition to the prescription scheme?
  • Beyond ‘lack of scientific evidence’ – structural barriers and facilitators to prescribing.  Findings from interviews with health professionals
Chris Wilkins, Associate Professor, Massey University
Afternoon break
Trying youth – special considerations for the competence of children in the criminal justice system
  • Emerging scientific research demonstrating brain developmental differences between children and adults
  • Special considerations for children placed into the criminal justice system
  • Impact of diminished decision making capacity on traditional penological justifications of the criminal justice system
Christopher Stevenson, Barrister, Pipitea Chambers
Panel: Exploring the inter-connection between medicine, technology and the law
  • With the trend shifting toward virtual consultation, what does the future hold for digital health and telehealth models in NZ?
  • How do medical and other healthcare professionals delivering care online deal with the risks involved in remote clinical consultation?
  • Do the same medical standards apply to both face-to-face and virtual consultation methods or is there a different set of standards for virtual setting?
  • Is the increase in ‘medical negligence’ seen in pandemic period, the consequence of a reliance on telehealth?
  • Information governance - how to govern appropriate use of increasing volumes of health data?
Dr Justin Barry-Walsh, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, Te Korowai Whāriki
Dr Samantha King, Medicolegal Consultant, Medical Protection Society NZ
Richman Wee, Chair of Special Interest Group on Law and Ethics, eMental Health International Collaborative
Closing remarks from the Chair and end of conference