Initially you must consider at what age a child becomes a young adult and can, therefore, make their own decisions. If you consider criminal law, a child under 10 years old cannot be charged with a criminal offence. Once they are more than 10 years of age they are treated as if they were an adult, as they are believed to appreciate the consequences of their actions.
The age of consent is also often used as a general rule of thumb for when children can begin to make informed and rational decisions about their future. However, the age of 18 is also considered ‘adult’, when a person then becomes completely responsible for their own actions.
The consideration of a child’s wishes is often debated in the medical profession. The question of how much influence a child should have over the treatment they are receiving is hotly debated in medical circles. As the treatment a child is undergoing could have a profound impact on their future, informed medical thinking is moving increasingly to include the views of the child.
As a child will usually be part of a family unit, the decisions that the family makes as a whole will usually be guided by the views of all family members including children. As children are a central component in divorce cases, for instance, the courts will always take the views of children into consideration, and ensure that their welfare is fundamental to the result of the court hearing. Even though the decisions that a child makes in a court setting may not be legally binding, they will influence the decisions of the judge presiding over the case.
Parents generally have difficulty letting their children make decisions about their futures. This lack of understanding of how mature children can be is often why the courts become involved in many family disputes. When medical conditions are also factored in, parents often become even more reluctant to allow their children even a low level of autonomy over their futures. This is slowly changing, but the time when children have a legal right to make their own decisions is still a long way off. Unfortunately, children are still largely sidelined when it comes to legal decision-making.
|About Author Ben Letham :|
Ben Letham works for Contact Law, the UK's foremost legal brokerage company - finding the right lawyers for your needs.
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Article Added on Friday, March 5, 2010
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