Centre for Research in Education Inclusion and Diversity (CREID)

Abstract ─ Annie Sorbie, School of Law, University of Edinburgh

Is the best interests test for children fit for purpose? Challenges and dilemmas in medical law

In many different fields the rights and wishes of parents may be at variance with those of children, but at the same time the advocacy power of parents cannot be ignored.  In medical law this has most recently come under the spotlight following the high-profile cases of Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans. This paper will consider the extent to which such cases raise live questions around whether the ‘best interests test’ is fit for purpose in an era of increasing importance of patient and parental autonomy.  More specifically, it will consider the actual and potential roles of actors including doctors, parents and children.  In conclusion this paper considers the wider implications of these recent challenges and dilemmas in medical law for how decisions are made for and on behalf of children.