Gillick Competence

Gillick Competence

Medical & Scientific Research to Help the nation and world live better

EMPOWER-1 Research Study

    The EMPOWER-1 study ordinarily allows for children to participate in the study if there is evidence of Assent as documented by the researcher, which is accompanied by consent from an adult with parental responsibility. Situations may arise where a child under the age of 16 years may wish to enrol without consent of their parent or another adult with parental responsibility. Researchers are trained to encourage the child to discuss the matter with their parents. However, where a child insists that they are entitled to proceed without an adult, those children will be referred to the GP at the practice to decide whether the child is Gillick competent (see below).

    Persons under the age of 18 years are defined as children by the United Nations Convention on Children's Rights (UNCRC; 1989), and following convention UK Courts refer to persons under 18 as minors, and 16-17 as young persons. The Family Law Reform Act (1969) allows for consent to be taken from 16-17 years old patients. However, the UNCRC, United Nations 1989, Article 5, makes clear that the views and wishes of children should be considered in accordance to the level of both their age and maturity.

    A matter between Gillick and West Norfolk and Wishbech AHA (1986) set a legal precedence that children aged 15 years or below may be sufficiently mature and intelligent to understand and make their own decisions.

    As a GP responsible for the care of the patient, and who is suitably qualified to assess whether a child is Gillick competent, you will form your decision on factors that include consideration of the child’s:
    1. Maturity
    2. Intelligence
    3. Experience in similar situations and the ability to consider influences that may be affecting their decisions including the study information and peer or family pressure.
    4. Ability to understand and evaluate the risk and benefits of participating in the EMPOWER-1 study

    The above-named child is (select as appropriate):

    Name of GP

    Surgery Name