Voluntary assisted dying eligibility decisions that can be reviewed

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) is an independent body that makes and reviews a range of decisions in Queensland.

QCAT can review decisions made by a coordinating doctor or consulting doctor about some of the eligibility criteria for voluntary assisted dying. QCAT cannot review decisions about disease-related eligibility criteria (i.e., diagnosis and prognosis), as they are clinical judgement matters best decided by a doctor.

Reviewable decisions

The following decisions are reviewable:

Decision-maker Step in the process Reviewable decision
Coordinating doctorFirst assessment
  • Residency in Australia for at least 3 years immediately before the person makes the first request.
  • Residency in Queensland for at least 12 months immediately before the person makes the first request.
  • Decision-making capacity in relation to voluntary assisted dying.
  • Acting voluntarily and without coercion.
Consulting doctor Consulting assessment
Coordinating doctor Final review
  • Decision-making capacity in relation to voluntary assisted dying.
  • Acting voluntarily and without coercion.

Who can apply for a review by QCAT?

An application to review a decision may be made by:

  • yourself, as the person seeking to access voluntary assisted dying
  • your agent (someone acting on your behalf)
  • any other person who has a sufficient interest in your rights and interests in relation to voluntary assisted dying, for example another member of your healthcare team, a spouse or other close family member, or carer.

It is up to QCAT to decide if the person making the application for review is eligible to do so. Being your family member does not mean they are automatically considered to have a sufficient and genuine interest.

During QCAT review

Once an application has been made to QCAT to review a decision, the voluntary assisted dying request and assessment process is put on hold. No further steps may be taken until the matter is resolved, including:

  • conducting further assessments
  • prescribing or supplying a voluntary assisted dying substance; or
  • administering a voluntary assisted dying substance.

Timing and process

To review an eligibility decision, an application must be promptly made to QCAT.

The Act requires an application for review to be made within 5 business days of the ‘relevant day’. This means 5 business days after the day the coordinating doctor or consulting doctor gives you a copy of the relevant form with their decision, or the day any other person making the application becomes aware of the decision—whichever is later.

Within 2 business days after receiving the application, QCAT must provide a copy of the application to you and any other parties to the application.

QCAT hearings regarding voluntary assisted dying must be held in private. QCAT has the power to keep your details anonymous in QCAT’s publicly reported decisions.

There is no prescribed period within which QCAT must make its decision. If you die prior to completion of the review, the QCAT application is withdrawn.

Effect of a decision

QCAT may decide to support or overturn the decision made by the coordinating or consulting doctor.

If the QCAT decision differs to the decision of a coordinating or consulting doctor, the original decision is overturned, and the QCAT decision is takes its place.

If the decision by the coordinating doctor meant you were ineligible and the QCAT decision means that you are now eligible for voluntary assisted dying, your coordinating doctor may refuse to continue in the role. In this situation, your coordinating doctor must transfer their role to another doctor so you can continue the voluntary assisted dying process.