Gillick competence


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Gillick competence

A UK term of art referring to the competence of a child under the age of 16 to consent to his/her own medical care, without the need for parental permission.

The Gillick standard arose from the High Court’s decision in Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority [1985] 3 All ER 402 (HL), which is binding in the UK and approved in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. In this landmark case, Mrs Gillick, a mother of 10, took the West Norfolk and Wisbech Health Authority to court for issuing a circular advising doctors on providing contraception to minors (here, under age 16), which the Authority left up to the doctor’s discretion. Mrs Gillick argued that parental rights trumped consent where the child in question was under age 16. The court responded by saying that parental rights do not exist. Gillick competence is of interest to pathologists in the UK as related to the Human Tissue Act 2004.
References in periodicals archive ?
In Commonwealth jurisdictions, the term "Gillick competence" is used to describe a minor under the age of 16 years who is deemed to have legal capacity to consent to medical treatment if there is sufficient intelligence and maturity to understand the nature, implications, and consequences of treatment.
Although that case concerned access to contraceptives Gillick competence has since been applied to a wider range of areas affecting children (2), including consent (or not) to medical treatment and decisions regarding children's wishes in safeguarding cases.
In the UK, the principle of Gillick Competence of young people between the ages of 13 and 16 is used to assess capacity to consent [21].
In commonwealth jurisdictions, the term "Gillick competence" is used to describe a minor under the age of 16 who is deemed to have legal capacity to consent to medical treatment if there is sufficient intelligence and maturity to understand the nature, implications, and consequences of treatment.