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5 November 2023

The child was just 2 years old when evacuated from Nauru by Court order for urgent medical care in response to a potentially fatal suspected encephalitis infection.

This is the first case to reach resolution in more than 50 claims filed against the Commonwealth in the Federal Court alleging negligence in the healthcare provided to refugees detained on Nauru.

The settlement approval comes over 5 years after the litigation was commenced. It was a protracted legal battle.

In 2018 court proceedings were needed to force the Commonwealth to provide the gravely ill 2-year-old with proper medical treatment.  In the following years DIZ18 had to argue for the right to bring the case in the High Court. DIZ18 was eventually able to proceed with a legal claim against the Commonwealth seeking compensation for aggravated and exemplary damages, for injury and for loss. She alleged that the Commonwealth breached a duty of care owed to her.  The Commonwealth denied the allegations.

As acknowledged by the Court, the matter was strenuously contested by the Commonwealth from the outset and had a tortuous procedural history.

Bridie Murphy, part of DIZ18’s legal team at Maurice Blackburn, stated:

“Today’s judgment signifies the end of a long and hard-fought case. This case has been running through the Courts for most our client’s life. We are pleased that a measure of justice has been obtained for her and her family. We are proud to have represented them in this important matter.”

“The condition and treatment of children in immigration detention is a national shame. That the Commonwealth had to be taken to court to ensure this child received medical care is astounding. This case, and those that remain before the Court, are an important reminder of why no child should be held in immigration detention.”

“We urge the Commonwealth to ensure that all people who seek safety in Australia are treated fairly and have access to proper and timely medical care.” 

Media enquiries: Paddy Murphy on 0490 297 391 or

Maurice Blackburn media team

Our media team advises and supports Maurice Blackburn lawyers and clients during all forms of media engagement, including video and television appearances, radio, online and print media.

Please direct media inquiries to, or contact team members directly via the phone numbers below.


Jade Knight

National Manager Public Affairs, Media and communications

  • Brisbane, QLD
  • (07) 3016 0396
    0417 969 438

Michael Cooney

General Manager Public Affairs, Media and communications

  • Melbourne, VIC
  • (03) 9605 2700

Chee Chee Leung

Media Manager, Media and communications

  • Melbourne, VIC
  • (03) 9045 6941
    0412 560 584

Paddy Murphy

Media Manager, Media and communications

  • Melbourne, VIC
  • (03) 8102 2003
    0490 297 391

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