Gillick competence

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Gillick competence2016-12-04T13:17:41+00:00

Gillick competence 


A British term referring to the competence of a child under the age of 16 to consent to his or 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. The skinny on this landmark case was that Mrs Victoria Gillick, a mother of ten and a proud Roman Catholic, 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 don’t exist. Gillick competence is of interest to pathologists in the UK as related to the Human Tissue Act. 2004. 


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