The legal position on parental consent for puberty suppressing treatment in cases of gender dysphoria, 26 March 2021

The High Court has this morning (Friday 26 March 2021) handed down a judgment that confirms parents can consent on behalf of their child for hormone treatment to suppress puberty. Read the judgment on the Judiciary.uk website.

The judgment relates to a private court application brought by the parents of a child with gender dysphoria. The parents asked the court to clarify whether parents can consent to treatment with puberty blockers, in light of the decision in Bell. The Trust was joined as a respondent in those proceedings.

The Court decided that parents are legally able to consent on behalf of their child to treatment to suppress puberty. It noted that parents are, in general, in a position to understand and weigh up these matters and consider what is in the long- and short-term best interests of their child. As adults with full capacity and as the people who know their child best, and care for them most, they will be in a position to reach a fully informed decision. The Court also decided that treatment to suppress puberty does not fall within a “special category” of treatment which generally requires court authorisation in advance. Today’s judgment does not change the Bell judgment in respect of the ability of under-16s to consent for themselves.

The Trust welcomes the judgment. We are liaising with NHS England to consider how this ruling may impact on our practice.

For more information about the impact of the Bell judgment and this one on your care, please read our Q&A here.