Issues pertaining to the medical treatment of children and young people can be both complex and emotive for all involved. At such times the courts may be asked to intervene and decide. Cases invariably need to consider issues of capacity to consent and treatment under best interests. Furthermore, such cases inevitably have human rights aspects. This article analyses the diverse role of the Human Rights Act 1998 in these cases and illustrates key underlying Human Rights Act principles that can be applied in clinical practice.