Supreme Court issues ‘very significant’ ruling on right of parents and children

Supreme Court issues 'very significant' ruling on right of parents and children

The Supreme Court has issued a “very significant” ruling in a case focusing on the medical treatment of an 11-year-old boy who suffered life-changing neurological injuries, Ireland’s human rights watchdog has said.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission exercised its amicus curiae function in In the Matter of JJ and is now “studying in detail the weighty judgment in particular respect to issues raised of wardship and the rights of children”.

The Commission submitted to the court that any decision in respect of the boy’s treatment had to be made in a manner that balanced and protected his constitutional rights as a child, with due regard to the rights of his parents.

The Commission also queried whether the decision to make him a ward of court was a proportionate interference with his rights in circumstances where, the Commission argued, it removed decision-making capacity from his parents.

Chief commissioner Sinéad Gibney said: “This is an extremely difficult case. In our involvement, we have been mindful that at the centre of this a young boy of 11, his devoted parents and his loving family who are in the midst of the most awful circumstances, and who are in our thoughts.

“In light of the circumstances involved, today’s decision is acknowledged by the Court as ‘difficult, complex and troubling’, and the Commission will take time to study this judgment and its implications in detail, however it is clear that today’s ruling is a very significant one in respect of the rights of parents and their children under the Constitution.”

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