Re O (A minor) (Medical Treatment): FD 12 Apr 1993

The local authority applied for a care order in relation to the child, on the ground that there was an urgent and continuing need for medical treatment which included blood transfusions. The court considered the legal effect of a parent’s belief (as Jehovah’s Witesses) that medical treatment by blood transfusion is forbidden by the Bible and is sinful, even if it is the only means of saving life.
Held: Wardship was refused. Johhnson J rejected the ‘specific issue’ route on the ground that the trial of an ‘issue’ arguably required the preliminary step of giving directions, and that in an emergency, an issue could not be determined on an ex parte basis.
Johnson J said: ‘Counsel submitted that it was wholly inappropriate for the court to make even an interim care order where the child’s parents were caring, committed and capable and only this one issue arose for decision, albeit one of the gravest significance. Reflecting on the statutory provisions, and in particular section 33 (of the Children Act 1989), I accept that joint submission.’

Johnson J
Ind Summary 12-Apr-1993, [1993] 2 FLR 149
Children Act 1989 33
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Education and Employment and others ex parte Williamson and others HL 24-Feb-2005
The appellants were teachers in Christian schools who said that the blanket ban on corporal punishment interfered with their religious freedom. They saw moderate physical discipline as an essential part of educating children in a Christian manner. . .
CitedLA v SB and Others CA 12-Jul-2010
The local authority had applied for a care order under the court’s inherent wardship jurisdiction in connection with a family where three children suffered a potentially life threatening disease, Rasmussens’s encephalitis. The parents were said to . .
CitedIn Re T (A Minor) (Wardship: Medical Treatment) CA 24-Oct-1996
A baby boy who was 18 months old, suffered from a life-threatening liver defect. His parents were health-care professionals experienced in the care of sick children. The unanimous medical view was that as soon as donor liver became available the . .
CitedCamden London Borough Council v R (A Minor) (Blood Transfusion); in Re R (A Minor)(Blood Transfusion) FD 8-Jun-1993
Child A’s doctors considered that she would need treatment over the following two years and that this could involve the need for blood transfusions at any time. The parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses and refused consent.
Held: The order allowing . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, Health, Ecclesiastical

Updated: 26 January 2022; Ref: scu.223026