Medical Treatment of Children and the Law (Jo Bridgeman, Routledge, 2021, hardback £120, ebook, c. £25)
In this book, importantly subtitled “Beyond Parental Responsibilities,” Jo Bridgeman, Professor of Healthcare Law and Feminist Ethics in the Sussex Law School, convincingly argues that understanding of the cases only as disputes over the best interests of the child, and judicial resolution thereof, fails to recognise professional duties and public responsibilities for the welfare and protection of children that exist alongside parental responsibilities and which justify public, or state, intervention into family life and parental decision-making. Whilst making this argument, she also analyses in careful, illuminating and thoughtful fashion, almost 40 years of reported decisions relating to the medical treatment of children.
Whilst not so much review as testimonial, I should note that I came across this book whilst in the heart of preparation for the AB case before Lieven J, concerning whether parents can consent to the administration of puberty blockers in relation to their ‘mature minor’ children. The book’s careful placing of the questions of medical treatment within their wider context resonated strongly with me whilst seeking (with Tor Butler-Cole QC, as Advocate to the Court) to ensure that Lieven J had the issues before her placed in a wider canvass.
And, at a much more mundane level, the appendix of all reported cases concerning the medical treatment prior to 30 April 2020 is worth the price of admission alone for anyone seeking either to write about or prepare a skeleton relating to medical treatment of children – I just hope that Professor Bridgeman can be persuaded to keep it updated!