This paper looks at the issue of consent from children and whether the test of Gillick competency, applied in medical and healthcare practice, ought to extend to participation in research. It is argued that the relatively broad usage of the test of Gillick competency in the medical context should not be considered applicable for use in research. The question of who would and could determine Gillick competency in research raises further concerns relating to the training of the researcher to make such a decision as well as to the obvious issue of the researcher’s personal interest in the project and possibility of benefiting from the outcome. These could affect the judgment of Gillick competency if the researcher is charged with making this decision. The above notwithstanding, there are two exceptional research situations in which Gillick competency might be legitimately applied: (1) when the research is likely to generate significant advantages for the participants while exposing them to relatively minor risks, and (2) when it is likely to generate great societal benefit, pose minimal risks for the participants and yet raise parental objection. In both cases, to ensure that autonomy is genuinely respected and to protect against personal interest, Gillick competency should be assessed by an individual who has no interest or involvement in the research.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Competing interests: None declared.
Read the full text or download the PDF:
Other content recommended for you
- Reification and assent in research involving those who lack capacity
- Ethical issues raised by intergenerational monitoring in clinical trials of germline gene modification
- Quantitative valuation placed by children and teenagers on participation in two hypothetical research scenarios
- Ethical dilemmas in providing acute medical care at home for children: a survey of health professionals
- What is the role of the research ethics committee? Paternalism, inducements, and harm in research ethics
- Selection bias resulting from the requirement for prior consent in observational research: a community cohort of people with ischaemic heart disease
- Researching about us without us: exploring research participation and the politics of disability rights in the context of the Mental Capacity Act 2005
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: legal and ethical aspects
- Children’s views on research without prior consent in emergency situations: a UK qualitative study
- Split views among parents regarding children’s right to decide about participation in research: a questionnaire survey