Adolescent treatment refusal: can it be determinative

Adolescent treatment refusal: can it be determinative


CategoryNews Author Victoria Butler-Cole QC, Alexander Ruck Keene Date

Sir James Munby, sitting as a judge of the High Court, is considering the question of whether refusal of life-sustaining treatment by those under 18 can be determinative.   Following a judgment on an urgent application in relation to X, a Jehovah’s Witness who is almost 16, available here, Sir James has heard arguments over 2 days on the following questions:

  1. Whether, following the Human Rights Act 1998 and other developments in the law, the refusal of life-saving medical treatment by a ‘Gillick competent’child is determinative;
  2. Whether it is lawful and appropriate for the High Court exercising its inherent jurisdiction to make a declaration that it is in X’s best interests to receive further blood transfusions in the event of any further serious deterioration in her medical condition, should this be clinically indicated during this or any subsequent admissions, until she reaches 18 years of age.

Victoria Butler-Cole QC leading Alex Ruck Keene has appeared as Cafcass Legal as Advocate to the Court.


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