De Bruyn v. Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health

A patient at an Australian mental health facility sued to block implementation of the facility’s smoke-free policy. The court upheld the smoke-free policy because: (1) it was within the authority of the mental health hospital to adopt the policy; (2) the state tobacco control law did not create a right to smoke in mental health hospitals; and (3) the hospital properly considered the impact that the policy might have on the patient’s human rights, such as the right to dignity. In particular, the court found that the hospital gathered extensive input on policy over a four-year period and that the policy would be implemented along with psychological and other support systems, including nicotine replacement therapy and cessation counseling. 


De Bruyn v. Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health, [2016] VSC 111.

  • Australia
  • Mar 22, 2016
  • Supreme Court of Victoria


Plaintiff Robert Peter De Bruyn (by his Litigation Guardian, Gary Michael de Bruyn)

Defendant Victorian Institute of Mental Health

Third Party

  • Attorney General

Legislation Cited

Mental Health Act 2014

Victoria Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006

Victoria Tobacco Act 1987

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product