Axon, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Health and Another: Admn 23 Jan 2006

A mother sought to challenge guidelines issued by the respondent which would allow doctors to protect the confidentiality of women under 16 who came to them for assistance even though the sexual activities they might engage in would be unlawful.
Held: A person under 16 who was otherwise competent was entitled to seek medical assistance, but a parent also had responsibility for her welfare. The court remained bound by the decision in Gillick, and indeed the subsequent adoption of the UN Convention would move the answer further in the direction of respecting a child’s wishes: ‘it would be wrong and not acceptable to retreat from Gillick and to impose greater duties on medical professionals to disclose information to parents of their younger patients.’ The claimant said that the direction infringed her rights to family life. The courts had recognised a move away from parental rights as such over children. There was no interference.
A doctor could provide medical advice and treatment provided that the child was capable properly of understanding all relevant matters, that the doctor tried to dissuade the child, that the child was likely to commence sexual activity whether or not assistance was given, and that the doctor felt it to be in her best interests for the advice and treatment to be given.

Silber J
[2006] EWHC 37 (Admin), Times 23-Jan-2006, [2006] 2 WLR 1130
United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, European Convention on Human Rights 8
England and Wales
BindingGillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority and Department of Health and Social Security HL 17-Oct-1985
Lawfulness of Contraceptive advice for Girls
The claimant had young daughters. She challenged advice given to doctors by the second respondent allowing them to give contraceptive advice to girls under 16, and the right of the first defendant to act upon that advice. She objected that the . .
CitedAttorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No 2) (‘Spycatcher’) HL 13-Oct-1988
Loss of Confidentiality Protection – public domain
A retired secret service employee sought to publish his memoirs from Australia. The British government sought to restrain publication there, and the defendants sought to report those proceedings, which would involve publication of the allegations . .
CitedBritish American Tobacco UK Ltd and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Health Admn 5-Nov-2004
The claimants challenged the validity of regulations restricting cigarette advertisements, saying that greater exceptions should have been allowed, and that the regulations infringed their commercial right of free speech.
Held: The Regulations . .
CitedVo v France ECHR 8-Jul-2004
Hudoc Preliminary objection rejected (ratione materiae, non-exhaustion of domestic remedies) ; No violation of Art. 2
A doctor by negligence had caused the termination of a pregnancy at the 20 to 24 weeks . .
CitedRegina v Department of Health, Ex Parte Source Informatics Ltd CA 21-Dec-1999
Where information was given by a patient to the pharmacist, and he took the data, stripping out any possibility of the individual being identified, the duty of confidence which attached to the prescription was not breached by the passing on of the . .
CitedCampbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd (MGN) (No 1) HL 6-May-2004
The claimant appealed against the denial of her claim that the defendant had infringed her right to respect for her private life. She was a model who had proclaimed publicly that she did not take drugs, but the defendant had published a story . .
CitedVenables and Thompson v News Group Newspapers and others QBD 8-Jan-2001
Where it was necessary to protect life, an order could be made to protect the privacy of individuals, by disallowing publication of any material which might identify them. Two youths had been convicted of a notorious murder when they were ten, and . .
CitedYousef v The Netherlands ECHR 5-Nov-2002
In ‘judicial decisions where the rights under article 8 of parents and of a child are at stake, the child’s rights must be the paramount consideration.’ . .
CitedZ v Finland ECHR 25-Feb-1997
A defendant had appealed against his conviction for manslaughter and related offences by deliberately subjecting women to the risk of being infected by him with HIV virus. The applicant, Z, had been married to the defendant, and infected by him with . .
CitedMabon v Mabon and others CA 26-May-2005
In the course of an action regarding their residence arrangements, the older children of the family sought an order to be allowed separate legal representation, and now appealed a refusal.
Held: The rights of freedom of expression and to . .
CitedHewer v Bryant CA 1969
The parental right to custody is: ‘a dwindling right which the courts will hesitate to enforce against the wishes of the child, and the more so the older he is. It starts with a right of control and ends with little more than advice.’
One . .
CitedX v Netherlands ECHR 1974
(Comission) A child asserted her right to live where she pleased.
Held: The state has an obligation to provide for its children to live with their parents in normal circumstances: ‘As a general proposition, and in the absence of any special . .
CitedRegina v Special Adjudicator ex parte Ullah; Regina v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 17-Jun-2004
The applicants had had their requests for asylum refused. They complained that if they were removed from the UK, their article 3 rights would be infringed. If they were returned to Pakistan or Vietnam they would be persecuted for their religious . .
CitedMS v Sweden ECHR 27-Aug-1997
Hudoc Sweden – communication, without the patient’s consent, of personal and confidential medical data by one public authority to another and lack of possibility for patient, prior to the measure, to challenge it . .
CitedNielsen v Denmark ECHR 28-Nov-1988
The applicant, a minor, complained about his committal to a child psychiatric ward of a state hospital at his mother’s request. The question was whether this was a deprivation of his liberty in violation of article 5. The applicant said that it was, . .
CitedKjeldsen, Busk, Madsen and Peddersen v Denmark ECHR 7-Dec-1976
The claimants challenged the provision of compulsory sex education in state primary schools.
Held: The parents’ philosophical and religious objections to sex education in state schools was rejected on the ground that they could send their . .
CitedHandyside v The United Kingdom ECHR 7-Dec-1976
The appellant had published a ‘Little Red Schoolbook’. He was convicted under the 1959 and 1964 Acts on the basis that the book was obscene, it tending to deprave and corrupt its target audience, children. The book claimed that it was intended to . .
CitedThe Sunday Times (No 1) v The United Kingdom ECHR 26-Apr-1979
Offence must be ;in accordance with law’
The court considered the meaning of the need for an offence to be ‘in accordance with law.’ The applicants did not argue that the expression prescribed by law required legislation in every case, but contended that legislation was required only where . .
CitedK v United Kingdom ECHR 1986
(Commission) The existence of family ties depends upon ‘the real existence in practice of close family ties.’ . .
CitedSporrong and Lonnroth v Sweden ECHR 18-Dec-1984
Balance of Interests in peaceful enjoyment claim
An interference with the peaceful enjoyment of possessions must strike a fair balance between the demands of the general interests of the community and the requirements of the protection of the individual’s fundamental rights. This balance is . .
CitedHendricks v Netherlands ECHR 1983
(Commission) In the context of article 8 the rights and freedoms of the child include his interests. ‘The Commission has consistently held that, in assessing the question of whether or not the refusal of the right of access to the non-custodial . .
CitedRegina (Daly) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 23-May-2001
A prison policy requiring prisoners not to be present when their property was searched and their mail was examined was unlawful. The policy had been introduced after failures in search procedures where officers had been intimidated by the presence . .
CitedRegina v Director of Public Prosecutions, ex parte Kebilene and others HL 28-Oct-1999
(Orse Kebeline) The DPP’s appeal succeeded. A decision by the DPP to authorise a prosecution could not be judicially reviewed unless dishonesty, bad faith, or some other exceptional circumstance could be shown. A suggestion that the offence for . .
CitedDe Freitas v The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Lands and Housing and others PC 30-Jun-1998
(Antigua and Barbuda) The applicant was employed as a civil servant. He joined a demonstration alleging corruption in a minister. It was alleged he had infringed his duties as a civil servant, and he replied that the constitution allowed him to . .
CitedHandyside v The United Kingdom ECHR 7-Dec-1976
The appellant had published a ‘Little Red Schoolbook’. He was convicted under the 1959 and 1964 Acts on the basis that the book was obscene, it tending to deprave and corrupt its target audience, children. The book claimed that it was intended to . .

Cited by:
CitedTB, Regina (on the Application of) v The Combined Court at Stafford Admn 4-Jul-2006
The claimant was the child complainant in an allegation of sexual assault. The defendant requested her medical records, and she now complained that she had been unfairly pressured into releasing them.
Held: The confidentiality of a patient’s . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Health Professions, Children, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 11 December 2021; Ref: scu.237844