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Making Decisions on Behalf of Children: Parents' Rights Under the New Mental Health Legislation - Family Law journal

Date:13 SEP 2010

DR WILSON CHENG Specialty Registrar Northern Forensic Mental Health Service for Young People and DR PARAG SHAH Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist Northern Forensic Mental Health Service for Young People

The law relating to children and young people's decision-making in the context of healthcare and treatment is controversial and complicated. As children and young people mature they want to make decisions for themselves. On the other hand parents also have interests in making decisions on behalf of their children. Over recent years there has been increasing recognition of the rights of children and young people to make decisions of their own. The new Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) and the amended Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) seem to have introduced some restrictions on how parents exercise their rights to make decision on behalf of their children. This article will first look at the existing common law position. Then it will examine those changes brought by the implementation of the Human Rights Act 1998 the MCA and the amended MHA.

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