United Kingdom: Documents relevant to the Lawfulness of Male Circumcision

Legal Information about non-therapeutic male circumcision for the United Kingdom.

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This index page provides links to online documents relevant to the study of the legal position of neonatal non-therapeutic male circumcision in the United Kingdom. Documents are indexed in approximate chronological order.

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This page is a resource page. It is not intended to be a definitive statement of the law of the United Kingdom.


  1. Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
  2. Children and Young Persons Act 1933. London: HMSO.
  3. Articles 55-56,60. Charter of the United Nations (1945). In: The United Nations and Human Rights 1945-1995. Department of Public Information, United Nations, New York 10017, 1995. (ISBN 92-1-100560-4)
  4. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, G.A. res. 217A (III), U.N. Doc A/810 at 71 (1948).
  5. Convention For The Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). Council of Europe (1950).
  6. Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority [1985] 3 All ER 402, [1986] AC 112.
  7. Sebastian Poulter. English Criminal Law and Ethnic Minority Customs. Butterworths, London, 1986.
  8. Children Act 1989. London: HMSO.
  9. U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). UN General Assembly Document A/RES/44/25.
  10. R v Brown [1993] 2 All ER 75.
  11. Williams N, Kapila L. Complications of Circumcision. Brit J Surg 1993; 80: 1231-1236.
  12. Vienna Declaration, 9 October 1993.
  13. Nairn P. (Nuffield Committee Chairman). Human Tissue---Ethical and Legal Issues. London: Nuffield. 1995. (ISBN 0-9522701-1-0)
  14. Taylor JR, Lockwood AP, Taylor AJ. The prepuce: specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision. Br J Urol 1996;77:291-295.
  15. Barbara Ann Hocking and Alison Smith. The Potential of the Law of Torts to Assist in the Protection of Children. Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law, Vol 3, No 1 (May 1996).
  16. Warren J, Smith FD, Dalton JD, et al. Circumcision of children. BMJ 1996; 312: 377.
  17. Committee on Medical Ethics. Circumcision of Male Infants: Guidance for Doctors. London: British Medical Association, 1996.
  18. Christopher P Price, M.A. Letter to Stuart Horner, Ph.D. (then chair of BMA committee on medical ethics) 1996.
  19. Price C. Male circumcision: A legal affront,   A brief filed with the Law Commission of England and Wales in response to Consultation Paper No. 139, 1996.
  20. Guidance for Doctors Who Are Asked to Circumcise Male Children. London: General Medical Council, (U.K.), May 1997.
  21. Price C. Male circumcision: an ethical and legal affront. Bulletin of Medical Ethics, May 1997:13-19.
  22. Laskey, Jaggard, and Brown v. The United Kingdom. [1997] Case No. 109/1995/615/703-705.
  23. Jacqueline Smith. Male Circumcision and the Rights of the Child. In: Mielle Bulterman, Aart Hendriks and Jacqueline Smith (eds.), To Baehr in Our Minds: Essays in Human Rights from the Heart of the Netherlands. Netherlands Institute of Human Rights, University of Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands, 1998.
  24. House of Lords. Bolitho (administratrix of the estate of Bolitho (deceased)) v. City and Hackney Health Authority (1997) 4 All ER 771. Stationery Office.
  25. Good Medical Practice, Third Edition. London: General Medical Council, May 2001.
  26. Seeking patients' consent: the ethical considerations. London, General Medical Council, November 1998.
  27. Wilks M. Parental wishes are not the determining factor. BMA News Review, London, 12 September 1998.
  28. Fleiss P, Hodges F, Van Howe RS. Immunological functions of the human prepuce. Sex Trans Inf 1998;74:364-367.
  29. A v UK [1998] European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg.
  30. Human Rights Act 1998. HMSO. London.
  31. Cold CJ, Taylor JR. The prepuce. BJU Int 1999;83 Suppl. 1:34-44.
  32. Van Howe RS, Svoboda JS, Dwyer JG, Price CP. Circumcision: the legal issues. BJU Int 1999; 83, Suppl 1:63-73.
  33. General Medical Council. Seeking patients' consent: the ethical considerations. London: General Medical Council. 1998.
  34. Green JSA, Hunter-Campbell P. Circumcision (letter). BJU Int 1999;84(1):187.
  35. Christopher Price. Male non-therapeutic circumcision: the legal and ethical issues. In: Male and Female Circumcision: Medical Legal, and Ethical Considerations in Pediatric Practice. George C. Denniston, Frederick Mansfield Hodges, Marilyn Faye Milos, editors. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press, Boston, New York, London, Dordrecht, Moscow, 1999. (ISBN 0-306-46131-5)
  36. Re J. (child's religious upbringing and circumcision). Family Division. 6 May 1999.
  37. Muslim father loses court battle. The Guardian, 26 November 1999.
  38. Gregory J Boyle, J Steven Svoboda, Christopher P Price, J Neville Turner. Circumcision of Healthy Boys: Criminal Assault? 7 J Law Med 301 (2000).
  39. Caroline Bridge. Comment on Re J. April [2000] Fam Law 246.
  40. Re J [2000] 1 FCR 307. (Court of Appeal)
  41. A (children) Case of the siamese twins. Court of Appeal, Case No. B1/2000/2969, 22 September 2000.
  42. Re "A". (medical treatment: male sterilisation) [2000] 1 FLR 549, [2000] 1 FCR 193. (Court of Appeal, Civil Division)
  43. Barbara Hewson. Why the human rights act matters to doctors. BMJ 2000;321:780-781.
  44. George Hill. Circumcision of male children may vanish from British medical practice. [letter] BMJ 2000; Rapid Response, 4 October.
  45. Committee on Medical Ethics, British Medical Association. The Impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 on Medical Decision Making. London: British Medical Association, 2000.
  46. Peter W Edge. Male Circumcision After the Human Rights Act 1998. 5 J Civil Liberties 320 (2000).
  47. Allen Levy, Q.C., et al. Consent, Rights and Choices in Health Care for Children and Young People. London: BMJ Books, 2001. (ISBN 0 7279 12283)
  48. British Association of Paediatric Surgeons, The Royal College of Nursing, The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, The Royal College of Surgeons of England and The Royal College of Anaesthetists. Statement on Male Circumcision. London: Royal College of Surgeons of England, 6 March 2001.
  49. Youngson G. Religious Circumcision of Male Children: Standards of Care. London: British Association of Paediatric Surgeons, July 2001.
  50. Frank Bates. Males, medical mutilation and the law: some recent developments. 9 J Law Med 68 (2001).
  51. Skene L, Smallwood R. Informed consent: lessons from Australia. BMJ 2002;324:39-41.
  52. Hill, G. Male circumcision under legal cloud in United Kingdom. Arch Dis Child 2002; e-letters, 7 February 2002.
  53. Price CP. The foreskin and boys have value. Arch Dis Child 2002, e-letters, 11 February 2002.
  54. Svoboda, JS. Circumcision medically, religiously, and legally unjustified. Arch Dis Child 2002; e-letters, 4 April 2002.
  55. Chester v Afshar [2002] EWCA Civ 724, Court of Appeal, 27 May 2002.
  56. Medical Ethics Committee. The law & ethics of male circumcision - guidance for doctors. London: British Medical Association, 2003.
  57. Fox M. Thomson M. A covenant with the status quo: Male circumcision and the new BMA guidance to doctors. J Med Ethics 2005:31:463-9.
  58. Fox M. Thomson M. Short changed? The law and ethics of male circumcision. Int J Children's Rights 2005:13:161-81.

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