Marion's Case

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Citation: Marion's Case (1992) 175 CLR 218.

This information can be found in the supplementary materials to LAWS1052 - Introducing Law & Justice.


Background facts

  • Marion was a mentally disabled child, and her parents wanted to have medical treatments in the form of operations to ensure that she would not be able to have a child.

Legal issues

  • Intentional Torts - Capacity to Consent
    • Does the medical treatment of the operations amount to assault? Can the hysterectomy and ovariectomy be considered ‘medical treatment’?


  • Prima facie, any physical contact or threat of it is unlawful, it is the right of the individual to choose what occurs with respect to his or her own person
  • Parental consent (when itself is effective) is an exception to the need for personal consent for a minor who, due to incapacity, cannot consent. This scope of parental power to consent diminishes as the child grows and is capable of giving an informed decision
  • In order to ensure the best protection of the interests of the child, such a decision should not come within the scope of parental power to consent to medical treatment.
  • In decisions where “the consequences of a wrong decision and particularly grave”, determined by complexity of the question and the conflicting interests of parents or guardians, court authorisation is required


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