Court Authorization of Sterilization of a Minor Essay

Court Authorization of Sterilization of a Minor Essay

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Child Law Essay



I am going to be answering the question that Wardship jurisdiction enables a court to authorise the sterilisation of a minor when it is held to be in that child’s best interest and the legal and wider implications of this being in place.

According to Section 1 (1) of the Family Law Reform Act 1969 a minor is defined as “a person who has not attained the age of 18”. Children between the ages of 10 and 14 are deemed to be incapable of forming criminal intent. This presumption can, however be rebutted by proving that the child in question knew that his or her behaviour was ‘seriously wrong’ for example it was more than simply naughty. In accordance with the law young people between the ages of 14 and18 are treated like adults and are so assumed to have normal capacity to commit crimes, however they are treated differently in the courts and are likely to receive different sentences as opposed to adults committing a similar crime.

The High Court has powers to make certain orders regarding children where they have been removed, are in serious danger or at risk. The court will make the child a ward, a ward is a “person, especially an infant or incompetent placed by the court in the care of a guardian”. This means that the High Court will have responsibility for that child and no orders can be made or action taken which affects the child, unless permission is obtained from the High Court first. As the Children Act 1989 allows courts including the High Court to make orders relating to children, Wardship proceedings are only used in very rare circumstances.

“At common law a child will be able to consent to medical treatment for and on his own behalf when he achieves a sufficient understanding and intelligence to ena...


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Table of cases
Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech AHA [1986] AC 112
Re B (A Minor) (Wardship Sterilisation) [1988] AC 199-Jeanette’s case
Re C (Adult, refusal of treatment) [1994] 1 FLR 31
Re C (A Minor) (Wardship: Medical Treatment) [1991] 1 FLR 366
Re D (A Minor) (Wardship: Sterilisation) [1976] Fam 185
Re Eve (1986) 31 DLR (4th) 1
Re F (Mental Patient: Sterilisation) [1999] 2 AC 1
Re J (A Minor) (Wardship: Medical Treatment) [1991] 1 FLR 366
Re K, W and H (Minors) (Medical Treatment) [1993] 1 FLR 854-anorexic case
Re M (A Minor) (Wardship: Sterilisation) [1988] 2 FLR 497
Re P (A Minor) (Wardship: Sterilisation) [1989] 1 FLR 182
Re W (Mental Patient: Sterilisation) [1993] 1 FLR
Re W [1992] 4 ALL ER 627
T v T [1988] Fam 52;

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