Common Law: Gillick V West Norfolk AND Wisbech Area Health Authority 1984-5
  • "Gillick Competence" - any child who is under the age of 16 can consent, if he or she "reaches a sufficient understanding and intelligence to be capable of making up his own mind on the matter requiring decision".
  • This however, does not mean they have a right to refuse treatment.
  • Also, what is deemed 'sufficient' for understanding and intelligence?
"Gillick And Fraser are not interchangeable"
Gillick competence refers to the assessment that doctors could make in regards to whether a child under 16 has the capacity to consent to treatment without parental or guardian consent. Fraser guidelines is in reference to Lord Fraser's involvement with the Gillick case. He commented on the responsibility of doctors to ensure adequate capacity of children specifically on receiving contraceptive prescription and advice. It makes no comment on the capacity of children for any other treatments or procedure.

Also, shedding light on the rumours being spread around the medical profession recently, Wheeler 2006 mentions that Victoria Gillick "has never suggested to anyone, publicly or privately, that [she] disliked being associated with the term 'Gillick competent' ".

  • The Fraser Guidelines:
  • The young person understands the advice being given.
  • The young person cannot be convinced to involve parents/carers or allow the medical practitioner to do so on their behalf.
  • It is likely that the young person will begin or continue having intercourse with or without treatment/contraception.
  • Unless he or she receives treatment/contraception their physical or mental health (or both) is likely to suffer.
  • The young person's best interests require contraceptive advice, treatment or supplies to be given without parental consent.
  • Wheeler R.(2006) Gillick or Fraser? A plea for consistency over competence in children: Gillick and Fraser are not interchangeable. British Medical Journal , 332 (8 April): 807.
  • Gillick v West Norfolk & Wisbech Area Health Authority [1985] UKHL 7 (17 October 1985) from the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) website.
  • Regina v howard (1965) Lord parker C.J.
  • Sexual Offences Act 2003