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Refusal of medical treatment : a child's prerogative?

Trowse, Pip (2010) Refusal of medical treatment : a child's prerogative? Queensland University of Technology Law and Justice Journal, 10(2), pp. 191-212.

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Abstract

Society has a need for children to be able to make health care decisions. Homeless children need access to health care. Parents may not be accessible or competent to consent to their child’s health care. The familial relationship may have broken down. Children may not want their parents to know about drug, alcohol or pregnancy related issues. There is legal and academic support for the right of children to make autonomous decisions with respect to their health care. However what these decisions cover and who can make them is not clear.

Whether or not a minor has capacity and is therefore competent to consent to medical treatment is a question of law. Some states of Australia have enacted legislation, while others rely on the common law to determine this issue. At common law a minor is capable of giving consent to medical treatment when he or she achieves a sufficient understanding and intelligence to be able to understand fully what is proposed. Known as ‘Gillick competence’ this is a well known principle of law. The question posed by this paper is whether the decision of a ‘Gillick competent’ child can and should be overridden by the court?

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 47085
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Children, Medical Treatment, consent
ISSN: 1445-6230
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Queensland University of Technology & Pip Trowse
Deposited On: 21 Nov 2011 09:49
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 10:28

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