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Rethinking Gillick

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Chapter Summary

England's Gillick case in 1985 is rightly seen by observers the world over as a landmark in children's rights jurisprudence. The ruling by the highest court in the United Kingdom that parental rights yielded to the child's right to make his/her own decision when of 'sufficient understanding and intelligence' seemed to usher in a new age, one which legislation in England in 1989 and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child the same year affirmed. It now appears to have been a false dawn. The courts in England, starting in 1992, have beaten a hasty retreat. This chapter examines the move away from Gillick, and laments it. It also discusses the Family Law Reform Act 1969 and the Children Act 1989. The chapter concludes by calling for a new Gillick, which puts goals and values in the forefront, and places less emphasis on knowledge and understanding.

Keywords: Children Act 1989; children's rights; England; Family Law Reform Act 1969; Gillick; parental rights



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