Aarhus University puts the patient rights of minors in focus

Does a patient who is a minor have the right to refuse treatment proposed by a doctor and supported by the parent or guardian? At a conference in August, Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences will share knowledge and build links between practice and research in patient rights.

The Department of Law, Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences will host a major conference on the patient rights of minors on 23-24 August 2012. Researchers from all over the Nordic Region, together with 70 other participants, will focus on the special problems associated with the medical treatment of minors.

-This will be the first time that Aarhus University has arranged a conference that focuses on medical rights, explains Professor Helle Bødker Madsen of the Department of Law, the organiser of the conference.

- We hope that the conference will contribute to building bridges between actual practice and research into patients' rights.

Helle Bødker Madsen is a teacher and researcher in the field of patients' rights. She will make a presentation at the conference on the use of compulsion in the treatment of minors. When a patient is under 15 years of age, it is the parents who decide on behalf of the child or young person whether treatment should be given. To what extent may a doctor use compulsion to carry out treatment if the child or young person is opposed to it?

Helle Bødker Madsen explains that in practical terms, this is an extremely relevant question. Doctors and nurses may be in doubt in their everyday work as to how they should tackle children and young people under 15 years of age if they are opposed to treatment.

Among the guest presenters

  • Professor Mette Hartlev of Copenhagen University will give a presentation on children's right to a healthy life
  • Professor Henriette Sinding Aasen of the University of Bergen will give a presentation on children's rights to participate in decisions affecting them
  • Professor Elisabeth Rynning of Uppsala University will focus on the issue of disagreement between parents or guardians
  • Doctor of laws Liisa Nieminen of the University of Helsinki will talk about health research that concerns minors

Helle Bødker Madsen explains that the conference will present the latest research results in the field.

- We hope that we can contribute to the sharing of knowledge, both among the researchers attending the conference and among those involved in the treatment of minors in their daily work, she concludes.

The conference will be held in Auditorium 455, Building 1240, at Aarhus University.


  • All the conference participants have an interest in health law
  • Lawyers from the Danish Health and Medicines Authority, the Danish Ministry of Health and Danish regional authorities will attend the conference
  • Paediatricians, health inspectors and other health professionals will attend the conference
  • Read more about the conference at
  • The Dreyer Foundation is supporting the conference with a grant of DKK 50,000.

Contact information
Professor Helle Bødker Madsen

Helle Bødker Madsen
Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences
Department of Law
Tel.:  +45 87165714