The Law on Minors’ Consent and Refusal of Medical Treatment: A Critique and Proposals for Reform

Tiseo, Alexander (2023) The Law on Minors’ Consent and Refusal of Medical Treatment: A Critique and Proposals for Reform. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Under English law, it is conventional wisdom that no minor has an absolute right to autonomous medical decision-making and that even if the minor is Gillick competent or, having reached the age of 16, comes within the purview of section 8(1) of the Family Law Reform Act 1969 (and the Mental Capacity Act 2005), the court, in the exercise of its inherent or wardship jurisdiction, can in cases where the consequences of the minors’ decision are likely to put their health or life at risk, overrule the minors’ decision, and direct that the minor should undergo the recommended procedure(s). This thesis is primarily concerned with whether the decision of the court to overrule a minor’s refusal of medical treatment is in all the circumstances justified. This thesis argues that the balancing of the theoretical models of autonomy and protectionism is decisive in determining whether a minor’s treatment refusal is respected. In this regard, and considering recent developments in the law domestically and internationally, such as the increased prominence of human rights and the importance of the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in AC v Manitoba, this thesis establishes a framework based on factors relevant in the medical refusal case law in order to objectively analyse whether the courts, in their welfare assessment, consistently identify the factors that are important in the individual case, gives them each proper weight, robustly balances those factors out, and makes a decision that is best for the individual at the heart of the decision. Thus, this thesis critiques the current legal landscape on minors’ medical decision-making and proposes recommendations for how the law should balance the interests of autonomy and protectionism.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Law
Depositing User: James Tweddle
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2024 16:13
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2024 16:13


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