Children, Adults, Best Interests and Rights

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


This article seeks, first, to disarm some of the principal criticisms of the best interests principle as having an indeterminate content. It then considers how a best interests principle stands in relation to other principles, in particular according to the child a ‘voice’ on matters affecting its interests. It seeks to show that there is an important distinction between a ‘threshold’ and ‘weighting’ view of a child’s capacities, which has significant implications for how we think from a rights perspective both about the child and about the adult. The article contrasts its own approach from that of John Eekelaar’s ‘dynamic self-determinism’, and concludes by suggesting ways in which the case of children can illuminate the broader understanding of adult rights to autonomy and of liberal anti-paternalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-74
JournalMedical Law International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • best interest, indeterminacy,'voice', threshold, weighting, dynamic self-determination, rights, paternalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Law

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