Last updated 1 December 2020

Section 30 of the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) (Human Rights Act) applies to all persons deprived of liberty. This right recognises the inherent dignity of the human person, and that people deprived of their liberty must be provided with certain minimum standards of treatment.

Subsection 30(1) provides that a person must be treated with humanity and respect when they are deprived of liberty.

Subsections 30(2) and 30(3) contain specific rights for people detained without charge and state that a person detained without charge must be:

  • segregated from convicted offenders, unless reasonably necessary not to segregate them (subs 30(2))
  • treated in a way that is appropriate for a person who has not been convicted (subs 30(3)).

Section 30 is not limited to people detained under criminal law, but all forms of detention. For example, it may apply to people held without charge in police watchhouses, correctional facilities and mental health facilities.

Limitations

Subsection 30(2), which provides the right of those detained without charge to be segregated from convicted offenders, is a limited right. Where it is reasonably necessary to mix those detained without segregation, it will not breach this section.

The right to humane treatment when deprived of liberty will also be subject to the general limitation provision in s 13 of the Human Rights Act. This provides human rights may be subject under law to reasonable limits, which are justified in a free and democratic society. See ‘Human Rights may be Limited’ for further explanation.

Examples

The right to humane treatment when deprived of liberty may be engaged:

  • during sentencing proceedings, during which the inherent dignity of the offender should be respected, regardless of the gravity of the offence
  • when considering bail applications, where the right to humane treatment when deprived of liberty may be raised where the conditions of detention are not humane (e.g. where a child has been placed in extended periods of solitary confinement).

The right will also be relevant during complaints, appeals and review applications arising out of involuntary detention (e.g. about the treatment by police during arrest, or conditions in prison or involuntary mental health facilities).

These examples have been adapted from Australian cases. They are provided by way of example only, and are not a substitute for legal advice.