Gillick competence

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The means by which to assess legal capacity in children under the age of 16 years, established in the case Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority (1985) 2 A11 ER 402. Such children are deemed to be capable of giving valid consent to advice or treatment without parental knowledge or agreement provided they have sufficient understanding to appreciate the nature, purpose, and hazards of the proposed treatment. In the Gillick case the criteria for deciding competence, set out by Lord Fraser, related specifically to contraceptive treatment. In addition to the elements of Gillick competence, the Fraser guidelines specified that a health professional must be convinced that the child was likely to begin, or to continue having, sexual intercourse with or without contraceptive treatment, that his or her physical and/or mental health would probably suffer in the absence of treatment, and it was in his or her best interests to provide treatment. The principle of Gillick competence applies to all treatment for those under the age of 16, not just contraceptive services. — Gillick-competentadj.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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