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2-year-old girl wins ‘landmark settlement’ in Nauru mistreatment case

A Federal Court decision to approve a settlement for a two-year-old child who was mistreated on Nauru is the first of 50 claims against the Commonwealth to reach a successful resolution.

user iconNaomi Neilson 06 November 2023 Big Law
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The child, known only as DIZ18, was just two years old when she was evacuated from Nauru for urgent medical care – but the treatment only came after 2018 court proceedings forced the Commonwealth to provide her with proper treatment.

Over the next five years, the child’s legal team had to fight for the right to bring the case to the High Court but eventually were able to proceed with a legal claim for compensation against the Commonwealth for aggravated and exemplary damages.

The matter was “strenuously contested” by the Commonwealth, which denied it owed a duty of care to the child.

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The Federal Court’s settlement decision has been welcomed by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and senior associate Bridie Murphy, who formed part of DIZ18’s legal team.

“This case has been running through the courts for most of our client’s life. We are pleased that a measure of justice has been obtained for her and her family,” Ms Murphy said.

She added the condition and treatment of children within immigration detention, such as Nauru, 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,” Ms Murphy said.

Naomi Neilson

Naomi Neilson

Naomi Neilson is a senior journalist with a focus on court reporting for Lawyers Weekly. 

You can email Naomi at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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