Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
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Project 77(II) - Consent to sterilisation of minors

Project No. 77(II)

Commenced: 1981
Completed: 1994

The Commission prepared a discussion paper on the broader reference in 1988. A number of submissions received in response to the discussion paper referred to the question of sterilisation of children. As a result of these submissions and developments in the law following the release of the discussion paper, the Commission decided to divide the reference into two parts. This part deals with the question whether sterilisation of children should be permissible, and if so, in what circumstances; and whether parents should be able to consent to such a procedure or whether it should be carried out under the authority of a court.

Terms of Reference

In 1981 the Commission was given a general reference to examine the law relating to medical treatment for minors and report on the adequacy of existing civil and criminal law.


It may be discerned from the recommendations that legislative action by Western Australia is contingent upon Commonwealth legislation defining the jurisdiction. To date no relevant legislative action in regard to defining the jurisdiction for determinations upon the lawful sterilisation of minors has been taken by the Commonwealth. However, certain Commonwealth initiatives have been implemented to prevent unauthorised sterilisation of young women including notations to the Medicare Benefits Schedule, advice to professional medical bodies, amendment to Legal Aid guidelines and education programmes.

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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