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Parental Rights, Best Interests and Significant Harms

Medical Decision-Making on Behalf of Children Post-Great Ormond Street Hospital v Gard

Editor(s): Imogen Goold, Jonathan Herring, Cressida Auckland
Media of Parental Rights, Best Interests and Significant Harms
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Published: 28-11-2019
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 256
ISBN: 9781509924899
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £60.00
Online price : £54.00
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Loren Epson

About Parental Rights, Best Interests and Significant Harms

This timely collection brings together philosophical, legal and sociological perspectives on the crucial question of who should make decisions about the fate of a child suffering from a serious illness. In particular, the collection looks at whether the current 'best interests' threshold is the appropriate boundary for legal intervention, or whether it would be more appropriate to adopt the 'risk of significant harm' approach proposed in Gard. It explores the roles of parents, doctors and the courts in making decisions on behalf of children, actively drawing on perspectives from the clinic as well as academia and practice. In doing so, it teases out the potential risks of inappropriate state intrusion in parental decision-making, and considers how we might address them.

Table Of Contents

Imogen Goold, Cressida Auckland and Jonathan Herring
1. Setting the Scene – Supporting and Informing Shared Decision-Making at the Bedside: Avoiding and De-escalating Conflict between Clinicians and Families
Emily Harrop
2. Evaluating 'Best Interests' as a Threshold for Judicial Intervention in Medical Decision-Making on Behalf of Children
Imogen Goold
3. Parental Decisions and Court Jurisdiction: Best Interests or Significant Harm?
Rachel Taylor
4. The Legal Basis of the Court's Jurisdiction to Authorise Medical Treatment of Children
Rob George
5. In Defence of a Conditional Harm Threshold Test for Paediatric Decision-Making
Dominic Wilkinson
6. The Harm Threshold: A View from the Clinic
Giles Birchley
7. Beyond Best Interests: A Question of Professional Conscience?
Jo Bridgeman
8. Preserving the Therapeutic Alliance: Court Intervention and Experimental Treatment Requests
Sara Fovargue
9. Futility
Cressida Auckland
10. Vulnerability and Medical Decisions Concerning Children
Jonathan Herring
11. Resolving Disagreements about the Care of Critically Ill Children: Evaluating Existing Processes and Setting the Research Agenda
Louise Austin and Richard Huxtable


“In this important collection, the editors bring together a range of perspectives, including clinical, legal and philosophical, with a view to informing the debate as to whether the law should change. Crucially, it is a book that has a real chance of informing that debate because of the way in which the editors have approached their task.” –  Alex Ruck Keene, 39 Essex Chambers, Mental Capacity Law and Policy Blog

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