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Women's group challenges Bishops' right to oppose IVF decision

Catholic bishops seeking to overturn a Federal Court decision opening the way for Victorian single women to use IVF had no right to challenge that decision, the High Court has been told.

Last year the Federal Court decided Lisa Meldrum was entitled to use IVF as Victorian laws stopping her because of her marital status were incompatible with the federal Sex Discrimination Act (SDA).

Chris Maxwell, QC, for the Women's Electoral Lobby said the Catholic bishops had no standing to bring the case because they had no interest beyond any other member of the public.

"The prosecutors (the bishops) have no standing in their own right to bring these proceedings," Mr Maxwell said.

He also said Attorney-General Daryl Williams had no right to grant them his authority because this was not a matter of public law.

Earlier Robert Ellicott, QC, for the Australian Family Association, said only children had rights, not parents.

"Children have rights, parents have duties," Mr Ellicott said.

The hearing continues.