Decisional Privacy and the Rights of the Child  book cover
1st Edition

Decisional Privacy and the Rights of the Child

ISBN 9781032123462
Published October 14, 2022 by Routledge
248 Pages

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USD $160.00

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Book Description

Decisional privacy gives individuals the freedom to act and make decisions about how they live their lives, without unjustifiable interference from other individuals or the state. This book advances a theory of a child’s right to decisional privacy. It draws on the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and extends the work of respected children’s rights scholars to address a significant gap in understanding the interconnections between privacy, family law and children’s rights. It contextualises the theory through a case study: judicial proceedings concerning medical treatment for children experiencing gender dysphoria.

This work argues that recognising a substantive right to decisional privacy for children requires procedural rights that facilitate children’s meaningful participation in decision-making about their best interests. It also argues that, as courts have increasingly encroached upon decision-making regarding children’s medical treatment, they have denied the decisional privacy rights of transgender and gender diverse children.

This book will benefit researchers, students, judicial officers and practitioners in various jurisdictions worldwide grappling with the tensions between children’s rights, parental responsibilities and state duties in relation to children’s best interests, and with the challenge of better enabling and listening to children’s voices in decision-making processes.

Table of Contents

List of abbreviations
Note on referencing style
A child-friendly summary


PART A: Privacy and Children’s Rights: A Theoretical Perspective
1. The meaning and value of privacy
2. A children’s rights approach to decisional privacy
3. Re-reading court judgments from a children’s rights perspective

PART B: Children’s Right to Decisional Privacy in Practice
4. Medical treatment for gender dysphoria as a ‘special medical procedure’
5. ‘Harsh’ but ‘bound’: re-reading the Full Court’s judgment in Re Jamie
6. The ‘greatest advancement in transgender rights’ for Australian children? Re-reading the Full Court’s judgment in Re Kelvin
7. Validating treatment that ‘goes to the heart of an individual’s identity’: re-reading the Court of Appeal’s judgment in Bell v Tavistock
8. Recognising and respecting children’s right to decisional privacy: conflicts, complexities and opportunities


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Georgina Dimopoulos is a socio-legal researcher and an Australian lawyer who has worked across the higher education sector, government, courts, commercial legal practice and community organisations. She holds a PhD from Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne and is experienced in legal and policy evaluation, and doctrinal, qualitative and empirical research, in the areas of family law and children’s rights.


'Decisional privacy for a child, a multifaceted and presently poorly developed concept, is of critical importance in the evolution of parenting-related family law jurisprudence. This book offers real insight not presently elsewhere available. It is a must-read.'

The Honourable Justice Josh Wilson, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia


'This book will appeal to those grappling with the tensions between children’s rights, parental responsibilities and state duties in assessing children’s best interests. Its innovative approach to decisional privacy will influence future best practice across the family justice community internationally.'

Professor Nicola Taylor, Faculty of Law, University of Otago, New Zealand