COVID-19 – Advice to applicants

In response to the CVOD-19 pandemic, from 24 March 2020 until further notice:

  • all applications to the Patient Review Panel must be made via email: prp@dhhs.vic.gov.au
  • all inquiries should be made via email: prp@dhhs.vic.gov.au
  • hearings will continue and will be held via videoconference 
  • applicants will be advised of the process for videoconference hearings once a date for the hearing of their application has been fixed 
  • applicants should provide copies of their applications to their assisted reproductive treatment (ART) clinics
  • if applicants have any concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on their current or future treatment, please contact your ART clinic.

Key messages

  • The Patient Review Panel conducts scheduled hearings twice a month.
  • Panel hearings fill up quickly so it is recommended to lodge applications at least 6-8 weeks in advance.
  • Hearings are conducted with as little formality and technicality as possible.
  • The Panel can arrange an interpreter for hearings if required.

Information about hearings

The Patient Review Panel (the Panel) holds regular hearings to consider applications but does not meet in January. Panel hearings are conducted with as little formality and technicality as proper consideration of the application permits and applicants are entitled to be present, to make submissions and have a support person with them. With the exception of most storage applications, the strong preference of the Panel is that every party to an application attend the hearing.

Attendance at hearings from 24 March 2020 until further notice will be via videoconference. 

For example, in a surrogacy application, this would be both commissioning parents, the surrogate mother and her partner (if she has one) and any donors and their partners. If, for whatever reason, a party to an application is unable or does not want to attend an allocated hearing date then the Panel should be advised, via email, as soon as possible. Parties to applications who do not attend Panel hearings should be aware that their application may not be approved or may be adjourned to a future hearing date to permit them with an opportunity to attend if the Panel is not able to satisfy itself of its legislative obligations in their absence.

There is no right to legal representation at a Panel hearing unless prior leave has been granted by the Panel. Requests for legal representation should be made in writing to the Chairperson. 

Panel hearings are not open to the public.

Applicants should note that the Panel is bound by the rules of natural justice, which means that any person who may be affected by a decision of the Panel has the opportunity of a fair and unbiased hearing before the decision is made. The Panel is not, however, bound by the rules of evidence, which means that it may inform itself in any way it thinks fit.

If given prior notice, the Panel can arrange for an interpreter at a hearing to assist applicants from non-English speaking backgrounds and the Panel will pay for any costs involved in using the services of an interpreter. While applicants are permitted to attend with a support person, they may wish to note that any interpreting services must be provided through a professional agency as arranged by the Panel and not by a support person.

Hearing dates for 2020 - Updated

Upon receipt of an application, it is reviewed by Panel staff to see whether it is ready to be listed for hearing or not. If it is ready to be listed for hearing then it will be allocated to the next available hearing date and you will be advised of that in due course. If it is not ready to be listed for hearing then the Panel staff will contact you and explain what additional information or documents are required. Incomplete applications or applications that are not yet ready to be listed for hearing will not be allocated a hearing date, nor is it possible to reserve a future hearing date for an incomplete application.

Due to the volume of applications the Panel receives, hearings fill up quickly and the agenda is confirmed one month in advance. As such, applications will not be listed in the same month that they have been received. If you are aiming to have your application listed for a specific hearing date then it is recommended that you lodge your application VIA EMAIL ONLY no later than 6-8 weeks in advance of that hearing date.

Applicants to the Panel can request an Out-of-Session hearing at short notice if they require urgent assisted reproductive treatment for a medical reason. Such a request should be in writing and supported by a letter from a doctor. 

Panel hearing dates 2020 (to end of the year) - Updated

  • Wednesday, 12 February 2020
  • Friday, 14 February 2020
  • Thursday, 5 March 2020
  • Friday, 13 March 2020
  • Friday, 24 April 2020
  • Tuesday, 28 April 2020 * cancelled
  • Tuesday, 12 May 2020
  • Wednesday, 20 May 2020
  • Thursday, 11 June 2020
  • Wednesday, 17 June 2020 * cancelled
  • Thursday, 16 July 2020
  • Thursday, 23 July 2020
  • Tuesday, 11 August 2020
  • Wednesday, 19 August 2020
  • Thursday, 17 September 2020
  • Wednesday 30 September 2020
  • Thursday 15 October 2020
  • Tuesday 27 October 2020
  • Friday 13 November 2020
  • Wednesday 25 November 2020
  • Friday 11 December 2020
  • Thursday 17 December 2020