Children's bodies: the battleground for their rights?

Montgomery, Heather and Cornock, Marc (2013). Children's bodies: the battleground for their rights? Journal of Commonwealth Law and Legal Education, 9(1) pp. 19–34.

Abstract

The UNCRC has changed profoundly ideas about adult/child relationships and there is now an acknowledgment in both law and policy that children have a right to be consulted and to participate in decisions made about their lives. This has been widely discussed and critiqued and one of the most significant battlegrounds for debate has been children’s rights to consent or refuse medical treatment and the issue of exactly who has the right to control children’s bodies. This article will compare several cases where the English and Scottish courts have made various decisions and rulings about the extent to which children do have rights to control their bodies. It will question why, twenty years after the UK ratified the UNCRC, children are still considered incompetent in matters concerning their own bodies, unless proved otherwise, while adults are automatically considered competent unless shown not to be and will analyse whether this situation is compatible with a children’s rights agenda.

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