Led by Mr Julian Burnside QC, Rachel De Luchi appeared for the applicant in her challenges to each stage of the Professional Services Review process under the Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cth) (the ‘HIA’). After Dr Karmakar’s practice was reviewed, she applied to the court for declarations that decisions of the Director and the Professional Services Review Committee (amongst others) were invalid. Dr Karmakar also sought to challenge the validity of s 106ZR of the HIA which prohibits disclosure of the deliberations or findings of a Committee or any information or evidence given to the Committee in the course of its deliberations.
The Federal Court found that the Director and the Committee exercised their powers in accordance with the HIA in making their respective determinations concerning inappropriate practice. Antecedent decisions by the Chief Executive of Medicare and the Director were found to be wholly procedural and not amendable to review. Section 106ZR of the HIA was found to be constitutionally valid.
The judgment is published here.