The Gillick Case Essay

1494 Words6 Pages
The Gillick case Gillick competent. It’s a term used in medical law to indicate that a person under the age of 16 has been deemed capable of consenting to medical treatment without the parents’ consent, or, in fact, knowledge. We will be focusing on the origin of this term – the ‘Gillick case’. Let’s start with some background information: In the early 1980’s, there were specific guidelines for doctors who might come in contact with minors – under 16’s, in this scenario - seeking birth control without their family’s knowledge. The doctor should a) be acting in the patient’s best interest, and b) attempt to persuade the girl to involve her parents. In exceptional cases, however, contraceptives could be prescribed without parental consent. In 1980, a British citizen, Mrs Gillick, wanted to make sure that none of her daughters would receive contraceptives under the age of 16 without her – Mrs Gillick’s – approval. The health authorities responded that they were unable to give her that assurance; after all, the decision was up to the doctor’s judgment, as described in the previously mentioned guidelines. Mrs Gillick decided to sue. Eventually, the case ended up in the House of Lords. Up until 2009, The House of Lords served as England’s highest court, a function that has since been taken over by the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Five judges were left to assess whether or not it was illegal to allow doctors to give contraceptives to girls under 16 without parental consent. We – as well as the majority of the judges – believe that it is not. We’ll explain to you how we came to this conclusion by reviewing each of the judges’ arguments, starting with the ones that ruled in favour of Mrs Gillick. Lord Brandon Lord Brandon not only agreed with Mrs Gillick, he believed that it would even be illegal to provide a child under the age of 16 with birth control

More about The Gillick Case Essay

Open Document