You are here: HomeEthics News

Ethics News

Court sanctions sterilisation of man with learning difficulties

A high court judge in the Court of Protection has agreed that a man with learning difficulties can be sterilised even though he lacks capacity to consent to the procedure. The judgement is based on the principle of best interests, the judge ruling that the benefit of sterilisation, which would allow the man to continue his long term relationship with his girlfriend without the risk of fathering a child, outweighed any potential harm from the procedure. The case is unusual as it is the first time that a court has been asked to consider sterilisation for a man who lacks capacity to consent.  There have been some previous cases involving female sterilisation, notably the case of Re F in 1990 which established that the principle of best interests must be used in determining such cases. The principle of best interests is now set out in statute under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

Read more: