The judgement, written by Justice Garry Watts, made one positive contribution to the debate over transgender treatment, albeit technical. It clarified the position of Australian law for minors want to transition to another gender.
It certainly needed to be clarified. The judge rebuked Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, the authors of The Australian Standards of Care and Treatment Guidelines for transgender children, for getting it seriously wrong.
The Standards tell patients, parents and doctors that “Current law allows the adolescent’s clinicians to determine their capacity to provide informed consent for treatment.”
But this is false, as Justice Watts points out. The Standards “incorrectly state the current law in relation to the need for the consent of parents/guardians to stage 2 treatment,” he notes quietly.
In fact, the position of the law is that “If there is a dispute about consent or treatment, a doctor should not administer stage 1, 2 or 3 treatment without court authorisation.” The information given by Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne was misleading, allowing doctors to usurp the role of judges.