Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University LHB v RY [2016] EWHC 3256 (Fam), [2016] MHLO 54

"On 12th October this year the applicant Health Board applied to this court for declarations both as to 'capacity' and 'best interests' under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, concerning RY, to permit withdrawal of ventilation, withholding of life-sustaining treatment, and provision of palliative care only. RY's daughter has from the beginning asserted that, when ventilation is removed, life-sustaining treatment should be provided. I am asked to approve an order filed with the consent of all the parties which provides for some life-sustaining treatment, but not CPR or further intensive care. ... However, there have been a number of recent videos taken of RY ... which have led [Dr Badwan] to conclude that RY is not in a vegetative state, but is in a minimally conscious state with some signs of being in upper minimally conscious state. ... This morning the very experienced advocates in this case presented a plan, by agreement, in which it was proposed that RY underwent a tracheostomy under general anaesthetic and, transferred to a suitable unit for further treatment and/or assessment. ... As a Judge sitting in the Court of Protection, I have experience of litigants seeking very extensive assessments and re-assessments, in a way that occurred in the Family Division in Children Act 1989 proceedings, most particularly in public law care proceedings. The reasons for both strike me as similar, namely that the decisions the Court is asked to make are of such great importance and carry such profound consequences that there is, I think, a forensic instinct to leave no stone unturned. I am bound to say however, that I sometimes feel that I am being asked to authorise a petrological survey on the upturned stone. Just as the Family Justice reforms have re-emphasised the real dangers to vulnerable children caused by avoidable delay, so to, it seems to me, practitioners in this field must recognise that delay which is not, on a true analysis, either constructive or purposeful is almost certainly damaging and thus inimical to P's welfare. Though avoidance of delay is not a statutory imperative in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 the principle is now so deeply embedded in the law of England and Wales and across every jurisdiction of law that it should be read into Court of Protection proceedings as a facet of Article 6 and 8 ECHR. It requires to be restated that the Court of Protection Rules provide for the Court to restrict expert evidence and assessment, application must be made by completing form COP9. ... Given the scale of the hypoxic damage, the preponderant evidence suggests that any significant improvement may be rather a forlorn hope. I think RY's family should be under no delusion as to the prospects. That 'flicker of hope', says the Official Solicitor, is one that should be pursued on RY's behalf. Ultimately, I have acceded to that submission but I do so on a very particular basis and that is that the assessment process, which has been outlined in framework this afternoon, is carefully monitored..."

Citations

This is a COP case (case no. COP12957961) but was sent by the court to Bailii with a "Fam" neutral citation number. It is therefore possible that the NCN will change.

External link

BAILII.