Please note:
Gillick Competence is not to be confused with the Fraser Guidelines which is only concerned with contraception.

Gillick Competence is:

a term originating in England and is used in medical law to decide whether a child (under 16 years of age) is able to consent to his or her own medical treatment, without the need for parental permission or knowledge.

The standard is based on the 1985 decision of the House of Lords in Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority. (Source: Wikipedia)

I am wondering what limitations there are to the ability for a child to override a parent/guardian's decision concerning their health and wellbeing.

Wikipedia at the same source, points out that (emphasis mine)

except in situations that are regulated otherwise by law, the legal right to make a decision on any particular matter concerning the child shifts from the parent to the child when the child reaches sufficient maturity to be capable of making up his or her own mind on the matter requiring decision.

What situations are there that are "regulated otherwise by law"?


An example is given in the Wikipedia article

For example, parental consent is required for the treatment of children with asthma using standby salbutamol inhalers in schools. These restrictions have yet to be tested in court.

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  • I don't hold any credence to this claim made in the Wikipedia article because in the paper cited it states that "Of 98 schools submitting valid responses to the question, 99% (n = 97) permitted pupils to carry inhalers on their person while at school; the remaining school stored pupils’ inhalers in a central location within the school. A total of 22% of included schools (n = 22) required parental permission before pupils were permitted to carry inhalers.... – Chris Rogers Jan 10 at 14:41
  • ... Conclusions. Most secondary schools in North East England permit pupils to carry inhalers on their person. The requirement in a minority of schools for parental permission to be given possibly contravenes the standard ethical practices in clinical medicine for children of this age." This to me points out that it is a school rule rather than legislation and contravenes the child's rights under Gillick Competence law. Unless the legislation can be found. – Chris Rogers Jan 10 at 14:41
  • @ChrisRogers read the last paragraph on page 4 referring specifically to legislation that requires parental permission – Dale M Jan 10 at 22:39
  • However, it does appear the article is wrong because the legislation (legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/1916/schedule/17/part/3/2017-10-01) doesn’t mention parental permission – Dale M Jan 10 at 22:49
  • The part about the law you mentioned is "whether the school has an emergency ‘standby’ salbutamol inhaler for use in asthma emergencies, as permitted since October 2014 under recent amendments to The Human Medicines Regulations 2012." Not whether parental consent is required. "In England and Wales, under section 8 of the Family Law Reform Act 1969 (Government of the United Kingdom, 1969), those aged 16 years are presumed to be capable of consenting to their own medical treatment and any ancillary procedures involved in that treatment." Plus, Gillick Competence is case law from 1985. – Chris Rogers Jan 11 at 8:34

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