Re SG (adult mental patient: abortion): FD 1991

Her GP and a consultant gynaecologist had recommended a termination for a pregnant, severely mentally handicapped 26 year old woman. Following Re F, her father sought a formal declaration of the court was required before any termination.
Held: Termination of a pregnancy was already closely regulated by statute which provided ‘fully adequate safeguards for doctors who are to undertake this treatment.’ It was therefore not necessary to seek the specific approval of the High Court before the termination of a pregnancy, provided the 1967 Act was complied with. The court noted that this was ‘a developing branch of the law’ and referred to the the Law Commission’s work on the general issue of mental incapacity, saying ‘it may be that further guidelines will be issued by the Medical Ethics Committee of the British Medical Association, in addition to recommendations which may be made by the Law Commission. For the time being, however, I express my view that a formal declaration is not required in this case.’


Sir Stephen Brown


[1991] 2 FLR 329


Abortion Act 1967 1


England and Wales


FollowedIn re F (Mental Patient: Sterilisation) HL 4-May-1989
Where a patient lacks capacity, there is the power to provide him with whatever treatment or care is necessary in his own best interests. Medical treatment can be undertaken in an emergency even if, through a lack of capacity, no consent had been . .

Cited by:

CitedAn NHS Trust v D (Medical Treatment: Consent: Termination) FD 28-Nov-2003
The defendant had been admitted to hospital under the 1983 Act and found to be pregnant. The doctors sought an order permitting an abortion. An order had been made, but the parties invited the court to say whether a court order was required at all. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 03 February 2022; Ref: scu.188389