The Mature Minor Doctrine

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Mature Minor Doctrine as the name suggests is the doctrine which places importance on the maturity of minor in cases relating to consent for diagnosis or treatment by a doctor. Mature Minor Doctrine has undergone considerable changes after its establishment in the Washington Supreme Court in the case of Smith v Seibly. Mature Minor Doctrine emerges out of the fact that a minor can take mature decisions about his or her health. Many aspects are to be considered when laying down a principle regarding the doctrine. While it is understood to place emphasis on the mental maturity of a minor, it also undermines some aspects of parental authority and the state.
What is the Mature Minor Doctrine?
The Mature Minor Doctrine propounds that a minor has
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The Gillick Competence and Fraser’s Guidelines
In Gillick v West Norflock and Wisbech Area Health Authority , the House of Lords established the test for competence of a minor to give consent. Gillick competency and Fraser guidelines refer to a legal case which looked specifically at whether doctors should be able to give contraceptive advice or treatment to under 16-year-olds without parental consent. But since then, they have been more widely used to help assess whether a child has the maturity to make their own decisions and to understand the implications of those decisions.
Gillick Competency Test assesses the maturity of a minor to take decisions. Lord Scarman’s comments in his judgement of the case are referred to as the Gillick Competency Test
"...whether or not a child is capable of giving the necessary consent will depend on the child’s maturity and understanding and the nature of the consent required. The child must be capable of making a reasonable assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of the treatment proposed, so the consent, if given, can be properly and fairly described as true
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Along with the test of competency of minor to understand the procedure so conducted upon him, it is important to analyse whether the minor is being briefed about the procedure, risks, and benefits associated with it, alternatives available and risks with such alternatives. Hence, the informed consent in minors is considered very important. Informed consent presumes respect for patient autonomy and provision of full and accurate information to the patient to enable the patient take a reasoned decision, both on the positive and the negative side. Informed consent was established in Cantebury v Spence and

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