Plaintiff S99/2016 v. Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

This case considered whether the Australian Minister for Immigration owed a duty of care to procure the safe and legal abortion for the Applicant refugee who arrived unlawfully in Australia from Africa (personal identifying information is redacted). After being resettled as a “transitory person” on Nauru, she was raped while unconscious during a seizure and became pregnant. Specifically, the Applicant sought an injunction preventing her abortion from occurring in Papua New Guinea where it would not be safe and legal and instead sought to be returned to Australia for the procedure. The Court granted the injunction to prevent the Applicant’s abortion from being performed in Papua New Guinea or any location where a participant could be subject to criminal liability. The Court held that the Minister for Immigration and the Australian Government owed the applicant a duty of care, which required them to “exercise reasonable care in the discharge of the responsibility that they assumed to procure for her a safe and lawful abortion.” However, the Court declined to require that the Minister bring the Applicant to Australia for the procedure. In reaching this decision, the Court considered the risks of the applicant seeking an abortion in Papua New Guinea, including the illegality of abortions, the poor quality of medical care, the Applicant’s dependence on Australia, and the Applicant’s medical needs. The Court also considered the imminence of harm and the insufficiency of damages as a remedy for this harm.



Avon Center work product