0803-Limits to Parental Rights - The Gillick Case

Background material for Year 2 Semester 2 PPSD Session on 18th March 2008

A health authority published a policy that children under 16 could be given contraceptives without parental consent. Mrs Gillick, a mother of 5 daughters, took a test case to court to challenge this. Her argument that the consent of a child below 16 years was not valid unless the parents consented. The House of Lords (the highest court in England) ruled in favor of the health authority. It based its ruling on competence of the girl. If she was competent enough to understand the issues involved, she could get contraceptives from a doctor without parental involvement.


As a result of the judgment, ‘Fraser Guidelines’ were issued allowing the doctor to keep his encounter with the child confidential and not to disclose it to parents except in cases in which the contraceptive was sought in connection with incest, sexual exploitation, or sexual abuse.

ŠProfessor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. March, 2008