16 year olds can stop disclosure of information to parents

PD v SD and others [2015] EWHC 4103 (Fam)

PD was adopted at the age of 6, but when he decided to undergo gender reassignment from male to female, his adoptive parents found it difficult to come to terms with. Following depression and multiple suicide attempts, PD became voluntarily accommodated by his Local Authority and he was placed with foster carers under section 20 of the Children Act 1989.

As a result, the relationship between PD and his adoptive parents deteriorated and PD sought declarations to prevent his parents from having any further involvement in his life, or to be entitled to receive information about him. The parents initially opposed the application, but on the day of the hearing they accepted that they would not receive any information about him from any medical facility he attended.

The declarations sought by PD were granted. In balancing the parties article 8 rights to family and private life, the balance fell decisively in the boy’s favour. At the age of 16, PD had reached an appropriate level of understanding and maturity to decide what, if and when any details about his life were given to his parents. It was held that PD was entitled to make decisions about whether any of his personal information should be disclosed to his parents. When a person is at this age, the parental right to family life ceases.

This judgment extends the ruling that the health information of a young person can be withheld from their parents, to all information relating to that young person.