QLD How to Respond to General Subpoena for All Psychiatric Records?

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Bobby Whitlow

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23 March 2017
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Hi I'm going through family court at the moment and the ICL has requested all of my Psychiatric records.
The main thing I saw a psych about was managing my anxiety, ED, getting over abuse from my ex and some other things.

If I were to object to the subpoena under what grounds would I do so, it's a very general subpoena, just says all records, which I think is really intrusive.
 

Atticus

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6 February 2019
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Hi I'm going through family court at the moment and the ICL has requested all of my Psychiatric records.
Federal Circuit court or Family Court? ..... Different rules may apply .... Who is being subpoenaed, you or the medical professional?
 

Bobby Whitlow

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23 March 2017
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Federal Circuit court, my psychiatrists are being subpoenaed for all of their notes, recordings, everything.
 

Atticus

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6 February 2019
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By rights a subpoena should be very specific about what is required. The above sounds very broad, possibly too much so..... Initially the psychiatrist will have the right to object to supplying all or parts of what is being requested, that could be on grounds of irrelevance, or in this case perhaps being too 'general' in that it appears to be more of a 'fishing' exercise...

After that, if the medical records are produced, you have the right to request an inspection of the documents too see if you object any other party seeing or copying the documents or parts of
 

Tim W

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Federal Circuit court, my psychiatrists are being subpoenaed for all of their notes, recordings, everything.
You object for lack of specificity.
A subpoena can only require somebody to produce relevant material.
That requires specificity.

Has the order actually been made,
or have you just had notice that the application has been made?

There's nothing sacred about medical records, as distinct from any other kind or material.
But nor is a subpoena a fishing rod.
 

Atticus

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6 February 2019
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There's nothing sacred about medical records, as distinct from any other kind or material.
Not true.... Medical records are actually given special mention in court rules with regards objection process & consideration
But nor is a subpoena a fishing rod.
If the subpoena is not specific, then it can be refused on those grounds.... I would suggest that a medical professional being subpoenaed their.. ' notes, recordings, everything' .... would fall into that territory & is more about fishing for something unknown then for evidence of something specific
 
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Tim W

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Not true.... Medical records are actually given special mention in court rules with regards objection process & consideration[
An express provision for objection is hardly "special".
 

Atticus

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6 February 2019
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An express provision for objection is hardly "special".
Also not true ….. To use one of your recent turn of phrase when responding to an OP .... “Let me explain it to you with crayons & little words”
  • @Bobby Whitlow came here with a question about subpoenaed medical records, & in particular, grounds to object
  • My correcting your assertion that ....“There's nothing sacred about medical records, as distinct from any other kind of material” .....is relevant & an important for the OP to know, which makes it ‘special’ to him
  • The rules around how a medical record is dealt with both in terms of objection & the courts consideration is indeed DISTINCT from any other kind of subpoenaed material
 

Tim W

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The grounds to object are the same as for all other material.
That the material sought is irrelevant, and/or that the application lacks specificity.

Typically, a subpoena requires a person to produce material that they themselves hold.
They can object, on the usual grounds, and in the usual way.
By comparison, the right of inspection exists to enable a respondent to determine which, if any,
material held by a third party medical practitioner might be objected to - on the usual grounds, and in the usual way.
This is a simple matter of fairness to the respondent.

Based on a certain minimus of experience on my part with people who are respondents to subpoenas,
I suggest that what @Bobby Whitlow may find relevant and helpful is...
  • That there is no ground for objection in the realm of privacy; and
  • That there is no ground of objection on the ground of mere embarrassment; and
  • That there is no ground of objection that would operate to exclude relevant-but-adverse material; and
  • That a subpoena does need to be specific, and that the court will not enable a mere fishing expedition.
    That is, the court will not typically allow an applicant to get to "everything" in the hope of finding "something".
  • That a "blanket" subpoena of the type contemplated is more of a tactic to intimidate a vulnerable respondent,
    than it is a genuine fact finding effort.
 
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Atticus

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6 February 2019
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I suggest that what @Bobby Whitlow may find relevant and helpful is...
  • That a subpoena does need to be specific, and that the court will not enable a mere fishing expedition.
    That is, the court will not typically allow an applicant to get to "everything" in the hope of finding "something".
  • That a "blanket" subpoena of the type contemplated is more of a tactic to intimidate a vulnerable respondent,
    than it is a genuine fact finding effort.
Agreed…. & those are the grounds that the Psychiatrist could use to object…. But if the records are likely to be produced, then under the relevant rules of court, Bobby also has the right to inspect for the purpose of determining whether to object to the inspection or copying of the document by any other party

THAT is the distinction between a medical record & any other subpoenaed material
THAT is the extra consideration that the court would need to make a determination on if Bobby made the objection to inspection by another party

THAT is what you seemed to overlook with this statement >>> “There's nothing sacred about medical records, as distinct from any other kind or material”

I simply made the observation & thought Bobby should be aware that by the relevant rules of court there is a distinction