Gillick competence

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Gillick competence (gil-ik) n. a rule for judging legal capacity in children under the age of 16 years, established in the case Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority (1985) 2 A11 ER 402. Such children are deemed to be capable of giving valid consent to health-care treatment without parental knowledge or agreement provided they have sufficient intelligence and understanding to be fully aware of the nature, purpose, and hazards of the treatment. In the Gillick case the criteria for deciding competence, set out by Lord Fraser, related specifically to contraceptive treatment. In addition to the elements of Gillick competence, the Fraser guidelines specified that a health professional must be convinced that the child was likely to begin, or to continue having, sexual intercourse with or without contraceptive treatment and that his or her physical and/or mental health would probably suffer in the absence of treatment. These guidelines have since been applied to other treatment options. "Explanation of Gillick competence in the British Medical Journal, with links to journal articles"