COVID-19 – Advice to applicants

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

  • all applications to the Patient Review Panel must be made via email:
  • all inquiries should be made via email:
  • 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 at least once a month but sometimes 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.

Upon receipt, your application will be reviewed by Panel staff and you will be advised whether any additional information or documents are required. Panel staff may also liaise directly with your clinic regarding your application. The Panel receives a high volume of applications so there can be a wait of up to three months (sometimes more depending on the caseload of the Panel at the time of scheduling), before your matter is listed for hearing. 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 hearing date in advance. 

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 2021

  • Tuesday, 9 February 2021 
  • Friday, 26 February 2021
  • Thursday, 18 March 2021
  • Tuesday, 27 April 2021
  • Friday, 21 May 2021
  • Friday, 4 June 2021
  • Tuesday, 20 July 2021
  • Tuesday, 3 August 2021
  • Friday, 20 August 2021
  • Tuesday, 14 September 2021
  • Tuesday, 5 October 2021
  • Thursday, 21 October 2021
  • Friday, 12 November 2021
  • Thursday, 2 December 2021
  • Wednesday, 15 December 2021