Moreton, KL (2021) A BACKWARDS-STEP FOR GILLICK: TRANS CHILDREN’S INABILITY TO CONSENT TO TREATMENT FOR GENDER DYSPHORIA – Quincy Bell & Mrs A v The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and Ors [2020] EWHC 3274 (Admin). Medical Law Review, 29 (4). pp. 699-715. ISSN 0967-0742

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The case of Quincy Bell & Mrs A v The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and Ors is a Judicial Review into the treatment practices of the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) run by Tavistock NHS Trust. The Divisional Court considered whether children and young people with Gender Dysphoria can ever be Gillick competent to consent to treatment with Puberty Blockers, and if so whether GIDS provided sufficient information to support an informed consent. This commentary examines the six key areas of the judgment: the nature of Gender Dysphoria and its treatment with Puberty Blockers; the categorisation of Puberty Blockers as experimental treatment; the high bar set to achieve Gillick competence; the convergence of information provision and competence; the role of parental consent; and finally the protective jurisdiction of the court. The conclusion of the court that transgender children aged under 16 will find ‘enormous difficulties’ in reaching the Gillick threshold to be able to consent to Puberty Blockers, and that even 16-17 year olds would benefit from a ‘best interests determination’ from the court, signals judicial thinking which is markedly protectionist. Considering the broad contemporary stance in healthcare of facilitating competence, valuing patient participation and respecting rights, I argue that this judgment is out of step. It has implications not only for transgender children, but it may be a worrying signal of a greater general retreat from Gillick and a corresponding advance in emphasis on judicially determined best interests.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final version of this article and all relevant information related to it, including copyrights, can be found on the publishers website at;
Uncontrolled Keywords: Children; Decision-Making; Experimental Treatment; Gender Dysphoria; Gillick Competence; Transgender
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman > HQ77 Transgender People
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Law
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2021 08:25
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2023 01:30

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