The older child and medical treatment decisions – mental capacity or competence? – Mental Capacity Law and Policy

‘Re J (Blood Transfusion: Older Child: Jehovah’s Witnesses) [2024] EWHC 1034 (Fam) is a characteristically thoughtful judgment from Cobb J, concerning whether authorisation should be given to provide a 17 year old Jehovah’s Witness with blood products in a planned operation. In analysing the legal framework, Cobb J was taken to the decision of the Court of Appeal in E v Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust and F v Somerset NHS Foundation Trust [2021] EWCA Civ 1888 (“E and F”). He resisted, however, the submission by the Trust that the decision set out the proposition that there can be a point in cases involving the medical treatment of those under that 18 that “the discretionary powers on the court to intervene convert into a duty on the court to intervene to preserve the young person’s life” (paragraph 33).’

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Mental Capacity Law and Policy, 12th May 2024