The Australian Federal Court is today hearing a challenge from the government testing the court's power to order urgent medical evacuations of asylum seekers from Manus and Nauru.
The case involves an 11-year old child, who has since been evacuated to Australia.
The Federal Court has previously made orders requiring the transfer of over 90 people in need of medical care, and Melbourne's Human Rights Law Centre says 240 people were evacuated only after urgent legal proceedings were threatened or commenced.
The centre's Daniel Webb said the government hadn't raised the argument in any previous cases.
He said if i succeeds it could make it much harder for people to get the urgent medical care they need.
Mr Webb said over the past six weeks they have had to take legal steps to secure evacuations for 31 children, some of whom doctors were saying could die within days.
He said the government had forced children to go to court at all hours of the night to get emergency medical care.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the government was quietly bringing children off the island and dealing with issues in the appropriate way.
However Mr Webb said while the government was publicly saying they were transferring people, in court they were fighting tooth and nail to keep people in harm's way.