Re: F

Mentioned in Source 4.

Facts and Desisions

A mental woman became sexually active with another person in her institution. She was in her thirties but had a mental age of around five. Doctors feared that she would become pregnant and wanted to sterilise her as she wouldnt be incapable of raising a child. She was unable to consent so doctors went to court to see if they could do it anyway. It was held to be in her best interests to have sterilisation. Lord Goff said the principle still stood that adult competent patients must consent, or it is considered battery.

How did it change the law?

It gave a further description of intent,(source 4, lines 27-33) broadening the law to allow for medical cases and such where there is no hostility. It is a House of Lords case so is leading.

Has it achieved justice in the law?

It was unfair on the claimant whos best wishes were ignored, even though it was her baby. However the doctors thought they were helping the baby.
This case relates to the defence of necessity in which the defendant may be excused from their conduct if the can show they acted in a reasonable way in order to protect the claimant from further harm. This defence is rarely used.

In Gillick v West Norfolk HA it was shown that a parents views may be overriden if it is not in the childs best interests.

Re: A - This sad case involved two conjoined twins, Jodie and May, who would die if not seperated. The parents did not want them seperated, because if they were seperated one would die. It was held by the court that seperation was necessary, as it was the lesser of two evils.

The author of Source 4 still considers the approach in Re F as an unclear approach (source 4, lines 38-49)

What is its significance for the developments of the law?

In Cole v Turner, Lord Holt gave the first description of intent (source 4, lines 4-6), this was then interpreted by Wilson v Pringle to mean 'Hostility'. (source 4, lines 6-16) Lord Goff disagreed in the earlier case of Collins v Wilcock, as hostility could not apply in all cases, and restated his definition in Re F, which is now the leading case. (source 4 lines 17-22)

References to other cases.