From Mental Health Law Online
ECHR section I:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 , 17 , 18
ECHR section II (Articles 19-51)
ECHR section III (Articles 52-59)
Protocols: 1, 4, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14
Any cases with a hyperlink to this legislation will automatically be added here. There may be other relevant cases without a hyperlink, so please check the mental health case law page.
- Clift v Slough BC (2010) EWCA Civ 1484 — An email from a local authority stating that Clift was on its violent persons register was published too widely: (1) the disproportionate publication was an unjustified breach of Article 8; (2) the Article 8 breach prevented the local authority from using the qualified privilege defence to defamation.
- DD v Durham County Council (2012) EWHC 1053 (QB), (2012) MHLO 51 — The claimant was gate sectioned at Durham prison and detained under s2, then s3, in a Middlesborough hospital. He had complaints of false imprisonment and breaches of Article 3 and 8 relating to matters such as his being kept in seclusion, the lighting in his room, the number of people supervising his activities and a general lack of privacy. (1) He needed leave under s139 to bring civil proceedings against Durham County Council and Middlesborough City Council. This was refused: there was no realistic prospect of establishing illegality against the AMHPs who made the recommendations for s2 and s3 as AMHPs are (a) not required to choose or investigate the quality of the place of detention, (b) not required to research medical views earlier than those in the statutory recommendations, (c) not responsible for the medical or other regimes to which a detained person is subjected. (2) The AMHP who applied for s3 detention was employed by Middlesborough, so ..→
- Dordevic v Croatia 41526/10 (2012) ECHR 1640, (2012) MHLO 136 — Harassment led to breaches of Article 3 and 8. [Detailed summary available via external link.]
- FC v UK (1999) 37344/97 (1999) ECHR 184 — The applicant complained under Article 8 of the Convention that her adoptive father (whom she claims sexually abused her) automatically became her nearest relative under s26, that he consequently had access to personal information about her (including her treatment and whereabouts) and that she was not entitled to apply to have someone else act as her nearest relative; the case was struck out of the list by way of a friendly settlement on the basis that the government would change the law.
- G v E (2010) EWHC 621 (Fam) — E lacked capacity and was being deprived of his liberty at a residential unit by the local authority. They had breached his Article 5 rights by doing so without seeking a DOLS authorisation or court order, and had breached his Article 8 rights by actions including a failure properly to involve his carer. However, the court authorised continuing deprivation of liberty at the residential unit pending the final hearing as this was in his best interests. There is no threshold condition for an order under s16 depriving someone of his liberty, other than that P lacks the relevant capacity. When considering DOL there is a clear distinction between a placement at home, with family or an adult carer, and a residential placement. Hearsay from an incompetent witness is admissible but no weight would be given to E's statements.
- HBCC v LG (2010) EWHC 1527 (Fam) — It was in the best interests of an elderly lady suffering from dementia to remain at a residential home, rather than be returned home to live with her daughter (who was assisted by a McKenzie Friend, whose role was the subject of consideration by the Court)
- Independent News and Media Ltd v A (2009) EWHC 2858 (Fam) — The media sought, not that the CoP hearing be public, but that they be authorised to attend the hearing and be subject to reporting restrictions. CoP proceedings are excluded from the general 'open justice principle' so the media's Article 10 rights are not automatically engaged, and the court must rather adopt a two-stage approach: (1) Whether a 'good reason' (a gatekeeping test from the Rules, the standard for which is not high) for making the order can be established; (2) If there is a 'good reason', a balancing test must be applied to P's Article 8 rights and the media's Article 10 rights. On the facts: (1) There was a 'good reason' as (a) the issues were already in the public domain, (b) the court's powers can preserve privacy, and (c) it is the public interest to understand how the court operates; (2) The media would be allowed to attend, as the concerns for privacy and publicity could both be met by permitting some reporting but requiring the media to demonstrate what ..→
- JE v DE and Surrey County Council (2006) EWHC 3459 (Fam) — In determining whether a person is deprived of his liberty, the crucial question is whether he is is “free to leave” the institution, not only for approved outings but also permanently to go or live where or with whom he chooses; there can be deprivation of liberty in the absence of a lock or physical barrier, and it can equally be caused by the misuse or misrepresentation of even non-existent authority
- JT v UK 26494/95 (2000) ECHR 133 — Case struck out of list, as friendly settlement reached to ensure MHA compliant with Article 8: MHA to be amended to allow patient to apply for displacement of NR where reasonably objected; and to allow exclusion of certain persons from acting as NR.
- J Council v GU (2012) EWHC 3531 (COP), (2012) MHLO 137 — "Happily, all parties have agreed a final order which they invite me to approve. I am satisfied that it is a proper order to make and its terms and provisions are fully in the interests of George. However the case has given rise to interesting questions about Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and what the scope of the safeguards should be to ensure compliance with it for the future. I have been exhorted to give a judgment which states unambiguously that the arrangements which I approve are compliant with Article 8. It is said that this judgment is likely to be looked at in any case presenting similar facts." [Detailed summary available.]
- KD and LD v LB Havering (2009) EW Misc 7 (EWCOP) — At a hearing which was expected to be merely interlocutory, the DJ made final orders as to capacity and residence, and appointed the local authority as personal welfare deputy. (1) The power to deal with cases summarily exists but was exercised unlawfully in this case. It is to be exercised as an alternative to a hearing, for example in an emergency or where little or no contest is anticipated. It is unlikely to be exercised appropriately where there is a serious issue or potential issue as to the appropriateness of deprivation of liberty and so where Articles 5 and 6 are potentially engaged. The DJ had achieved an impermissible hybrid, in the course of a hearing exercising powers potentially available to the Court instead of a hearing. (2) A summary decision of best interests must be made by reference to the evidence and the matters in MCA 2005 s4, but this exercise was not fully carried out. (3) There was a breach of procedural fairness and Article ..→
- Magritz v Public Prosecutors Office Bremen (2011) EWHC 1861 (Admin) — In relation to the claimant's extradition, where the sentence was for him to be 'placed in a psychiatric hospital for an indefinite period of time': (1) section 25 of the Extradition Act 2003 (the purpose of which is to protect a requested person whose physical or mental health is so poor that the act of extradition would be oppressive or unjust) was not engaged; and (2) there would be no breach of Article 3, Article 5 or Article 8.
- Nowika v Poland 30218/96 (2002) ECHR 795 — The detention for 83 days of the applicant under Article 5(1)(b) (the lawful arrest or detention of a person for non-compliance with the lawful order of a court or in order to secure the fulfilment of any obligation prescribed by law) violated Article 5(1) as it was for longer than necessary for the fulfilment of the obligation to submit to a psychiatric examination; the restriction on visits by her family to one visit per month violated Article 8; compensation of €10,000 was awarded
- Panteleyenko v Ukraine 11901/02 (2006) ECHR 667 — A search of the applicant's office, and the disclosure of confidential psychiatric information, was not in accordance with domestic law and therefore violated Article 8; the domestic authorities' refusal to pay compensation on the ground that criminal proceedings had been discontinued on "non-exonerating grounds" contravened the presumption of innocence and violated Article 6(2).
- RA (Sri Lanka) v SSHD (2008) EWCA Civ 1210 — Unsuccessful human rights appeal against deportation made by suspected terrorist: the article 3 claim being based on (1) a fear of being ill-treated in Sri Lanka on account of actual or suspected involvement with the Tamil Tigers; (2) mental health and in particular the risk of suicide if returned; the article 8 claim being based on the risk of suicide and interference with the private life established in the UK.
- R (A) v B (2010) EWHC 2361 (Admin) — "The police are under an absolute and unconditional obligation to take all steps which appear to them to be necessary for keeping the peace, for preventing crime or for protecting property from criminal injury. ... Article 8 ... provides that: '1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. ...' This case concerns the interaction of those two principles in a situation where the police believe that a citizen, though committing no crime and though free of any criminal record or allegation of crime against him, has engaged in a private sexual life which indicates he may become a danger to women and propose to make public the details of this by selective disclosure." [Summary required.]
- R (B) v Ashworth Hospital Authority (2005) UKHL 20 — A patient detained for treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983 could be treated compulsorily under s 63 of that Act for any disorder from which he suffered, and not only for the particular form of disorder from which he was classified as suffering under the application or order which authorised his detention.
- R (Bary) v SSJ (2010) EWHC 587 (Admin) — The living and working regime for the inmates of the Detainee Unit at HMP Long Lartin (who are being held indefinitely pending extradition or deportation) was changed so that they were confined to the Unit, because of concerns that a new inmate might radicalise Muslims or plan/incite terrorism if allowed access to the main prison. The decision was challenged on the grounds that (1) it was irrational, unreasonable, disproportionate or made for illegitimate aims; (2) in breach of Article 3, it caused inhuman or degrading treatment for the two inmates with pre-existing mental illnesses; (3) in breach of Article 8, it unjustifiably removed them all from normal association and was an unjustifiable infringement of their right to the preservation of their mental stability in the broadest sense. The claim failed on all grounds.
- R (C) v SSJ (2009) EWHC x (Admin) — The decision to make C subject to polygraph testing as a condition of his licence did not breach the his Article 8 rights given the seriousness of his offences and his attitude to them; that the scheme was a pilot in his geographical area did not amount to discrimination under Article 14.
- R (F and Thompson) v SSHD (2008) EWHC 3170 (QB) — The indefinite nature of the notification requirements of Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (the Sex Offenders Register) is a disproportionate breach of Article 8: there is no opportunity for review in the case of young offenders; there is no entitlement to have determined the question of whether the notification requirement continues to serve a legitimate purpose.
- R (Krishnapillai) v SSHD (2008) EWHC 2737 (Admin) — Mental health problems can engage Article 8 and render it disproportionate to separate a failed asylum seeker from the support of his family (in this case the mental health element involved PTSD, depression and the threat of suicide); however, deportation in this case was lawful.
- R (N) v SSH; R (E) v Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (2009) EWCA Civ 795 — The right or freedom to smoke does not engage Article 8(1); Article 14 could not therefore be relied upon either. In any event, the SSH's smoke-free regulations and the Trust's smoke-free policy would be justified under Article 8(2), and the different treatment under the regulations for mental health units compared with prisons, care homes and hospices would be justified under Article 14.
- R (Nicklinson) v Ministry of Justice (2012) EWHC 2381 (Admin), (2012) MHLO 77 — (1) Voluntary euthanasia is not a possible defence to murder. (2) The DPP is not under a legal duty to provide further clarification of his policy. (3) Section 2 Suicide Act 1961, in obstructing the claimants from exercising a right in their circumstances to receive assistance to commit suicide, is not incompatible with Article 8. (4) The GMC and the SRA are not under a legal duty to clarify their positions. (5) It was unnecessary in this case to decide whether or not the mandatory life sentence for murder, in a case of genuine voluntary euthanasia, is incompatible with the Convention.
- R (P) v Mersey Care NHS Trust (2003) EWHC 994 (Admin) — A Tribunal recommendation for transfer from high to medium security is an important input but is not determinative; the decision whether to use the s17 (leave) and s19 (transfer) powers is for the RC and hospital managers, subject to the consent of the Secretary of State; on the facts, the Article 8 interference was justified and a decision not to transfer was properly open to them.
- R (Purdy) v DPP (2009) EWCA Civ 92 — The absence of a crime-specific policy relating to assisted suicide (identifying the facts and circumstances where it will not be in the public interest to prosecute) does not make the operation and effect of section 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961 Act unlawful nor mean that it is not in accordance with law for the purposes of Article 8(2). [Overturned on appeal.]
- R (Purdy) v DPP (2009) UKHL 45 — (1) The prohibition of assisted suicide in section 2(1) Suicide Act 1961 interfered with the claimant's Article 8(1) right to respect for private life (her personal autonomy and right to self-determination). (2) This interference - in cases of the suicide of a person who is terminally ill or severely and incurably disabled, who wishes to be helped to travel to a country where assisted suicide is lawful and who, having the capacity to take such a decision, does so freely and with a full understanding of the consequences - is not "in accordance with the law" as required by article 8(2), in the absence of an offence-specific policy by the DPP which sets out the factors that will be taken into account in deciding under s2(4) whether to prosecute. (3) Therefore the DPP was required to promulgate such an offence-specific policy.
- R (Razgar) v SSHD (2003) EWCA Civ 840 — The Secretary of State cannot lawfully certify that an immigration claim is manifestly unfounded unless the claim is bound to fail before an adjudicator; it it not enough that it is very likely to fail. All three claimants had already claimed asylum in safe European countries before claiming asylum again in the UK; the challenges to the Secretary of State's decisions were based on Article 3 and/or 8 and mental health consequences of removal.
- R (Razgar) v SSHD (2004) UKHL 27 — The claimant was an Iraqi asylum seeker who had already sought asylum in Germany, but claimed that his return to Germany would adversely affect his mental health. (1) In principle, Article 8 rights can be engaged by the foreseeable consequences for health of removal from the UK pursuant to an immigration decision, even where such removal does not violate Article 3, if the facts relied on by the applicant are sufficiently strong. (2) On the facts, the Home Secretary's decision to certify the claim as manifestly unfounded was unlawful, as an adjudicator could have properly ruled in the claimant's favour.
- R (Wright) v SSH (2009) UKHL 3 — Section 82(4)(b) of the Care Standards Act 2000, which provides for the provisional inclusion in the POVA list of a care worker (thus depriving him of employment) immediately after concerns are raised but before any judicial hearing, is incompatible with Articles 6 and 8.
- Re BS (2009) NIFam 5 — A medical examination of BS in the context of an application for a Controller to be appointed in respect of her affairs would not breach Article 8 and should take place.
- Re C; C v Blackburn and Darwen Borough Council (2011) EWHC 3321 (COP) — C was subject both to guardianship and the DOLS regime at a care home: (1) he was not ineligible for DOLS; (2) he was not deprived of his liberty, so the authorisation was set aside; (3) the authorisation had been lawful albeit perfunctory; (4) the restrictions were necessary; (5) the COP cannot decide on residence when a guardianship residence requirement remains in effect; (6) even if it could, it would only do so in exceptional circumstances; (7) the local authority was invited to reconsider the appropriateness of guardianship.
- Re CM; LBB v JM (2010) COP 5/2/10 — "The local authority took the view that since the intervention of the court would engage a potential breach of the Article 8 rights of the parties, that it may be incumbent upon them to establish on a factual basis why it was that the court's jurisdiction should be exercised. Broadly speaking, I would endorse that approach and recognise that where an Article 8.2 justification is required then the case should not be dealt with purely as a welfare case if there are significant factual issues between the parties which might bear on the outcome of the consideration under Article 8.2 as to whether state intervention was justified."
- Re GM; FP v GM and A Health Board (2011) EWHC 2778 (COP) — This was an application for a DOLS standard authorisation to be discharged, thus permitting GM, on discharge from hospital, to return to his home rather than be sent to an EMI home. (1) For there to be an order preventing GM from returning home (in practice, permanently) it would have to be 'so contrary to his interests to return that the court must not even contemplate seriously a placement' at home. (2) Factors in favour of a return home included: the 'emotional dimension'; GM's short life expectancy, and the fact that a move to EMI accommodation would be permanent; and Article 8 considerations. (3) Factors against were: the probability of a lesser quality of physical care at home; the risk of risk of breakdown and conflict; and the risk of deterioration, for instance in sleep pattern. (4) The DOLS authorisation was discharged. (5) As GM was ready for discharge from hospital, and the decision would have permanent effect, Hedley J decided the issue in one day in January instead ..→
- Re L; K v LBX (2012) EWCA Civ 79, (2012) MHLO 7 — Article 8 does not require that maintenance of existing family life arrangements be a 'starting point' in best interests decisions.
- Re P (fair trial); Knowsley MBC v P (2013) MHLO 5 (COP) — The press has reported this case as follows: (1) A patient was detained in a psychiatric hospital, then transferred to a psychiatric home; when the six-month section was due to expire, the council obtained a Court of Protection order to prolong detention, without consultation with the patient, her family or her advocate. (2) Peter Jackson J approved a consent order in which the council (a) admitted, in relation to the two months of further detention, violating the patient's Article 5 (liberty), Article 6 (fair trial) and Article 8 (family life) rights, and (b) agreed to pay £6,000 compensation. (3) The patient was allowed home following legal intervention and an occupational therapy assessment. (4) The patient was quoted as saying 'I was held prisoner, it's as simple as that. Even though it's been months since I was able to come home, I still can't sleep. I feel like I just can't trust anyone. I'm constantly worried that they're going to turn up and take me away again.' ..→
- Re Steven Neary; LB Hillingdon v Steven Neary (2011) EWHC 1377 (COP) — (1) By keeping Stephen away from his home, Hillingdon breached Article 8 and Article 5(1) (notwithstanding DOLS authorisations granted during later stages). (2) By (a) failing sooner to refer the case to the COP, (b) failing sooner to appoint an IMCA, and (c) failing to conduct an effective review of the best interests assessments, Hillingdon breached Article 5(4).
- Southend-on-Sea BC v AR (2012) EW Misc 25 (CC), (2012) MHLO 151 — The claimant local authority sought possession of an introductory tenancy on the basis of the defendant's antisocial behaviour. (1) The procedure was followed properly so there was no defence to the claim under the Housing Act 1996. (2) The original decision to seek possession was a necessary and proportionate interference with the defendant's Article 8 rights: in particular, the diagnosis of Aspergers and depression (which led to lack of litigation capacity and appointment of a litigation friend) did not explain the defendant's conduct and was properly considered by the claimant. (3) However, there had been full compliance with the terms of the tenancy for the 12 months prior to the delayed final hearing, so possession was no longer proportionate. (4) No order for costs (despite the claimant seeking costs).
- Stanev v Bulgaria 36760/06 (2012) ECHR 46, (2012) MHLO 1 — (1) The applicant's placement in a social care home for people with mental disorders and his inability to obtain permission to leave the home led to breaches of Article 5(1), (4) and (5). (2) The living conditions in the home led to breaches of Article 3, and of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 3. (3) The lack of access to a court to seek release from partial guardianship breached Article 6(1). (4) No separate issue arose under Article 8 so it was unnecessary to examine that complaint. (5) Compensation of €15,000 was awarded.
- Wilkinson v UK 14659/02 (2006) ECHR 1171 — The applicant's complaints were all declared inadmissible. He had complained that: (1) medical treatment against his will was a breach of the negative obligations under Articles 3 and 8; (2) the authorities failed in their positive obligation under Articles 3 and 8 to provide suitable safeguards against the imposition of treatment that would violate his rights, in particular that the authorities should have sought approval from a court before imposing treatment and that he should have been able to bring a challenge against the treatment, before it took place, in a court which would have been able to provide a suitable level of review; (3) the inability to have a determination of his ‘civil right’ to autonomy in a court that would have provided a review on the merits was a violation of Article 6; (4) the lack of effective remedy was a breach of Article 13; (5) discrimination on the basis of his status as a detained patient was a breach of ..→
- X v Finland 34806/04 (2012) ECHR 1371, (2012) MHLO 128 — "The applicant alleged, in particular, under Article 6 of the Convention that she did not receive a fair hearing in the criminal proceedings against her in that she was not given an opportunity to be heard at an oral hearing on the need to appoint a trustee for her for the purpose of those proceedings and that she was not given an opportunity to examine witnesses on her behalf. She also alleged under Articles 5 and 8 of the Convention that she was unnecessarily and unlawfully subjected to involuntary care in a mental institution and to forced administration of medication. She further claimed under Article 13 of the Convention that she did not have an effective remedy to challenge the forced administration of medication." [Detailed summary available via external link.]
- ZH v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (2012) EWHC 604 (QB), (2012) MHLO 25 — ZH, a severely autistic, epileptic 19-year-old man, became fixated with the water during a school visit to a swimming pool and would not move from the water's edge: the police were called; when an officer touched him on his back he jumped into the water, fully clothed; the police had him taken out of the pool and restrained him. (1) The police actions constituted assault, battery and false imprisonment. There was no need for the police to be aware of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for the defence in ss5-6 to be made out, but on the facts it was not. When the MCA applies, the common law defence of necessity has no application, but had it applied it would have failed. (2) There was a breach of the DDA 1995 duty to make reasonable adjustments to the normal practice, policy or procedure, and the defence of justification failed. (3) The inhuman or degrading treatment breached Article 3. (4) Even treating purpose and intention as relevant, there was a ..→
Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life
1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
Bevan Brittan, 'Patient privacy and the use of mobile phones in hospitals' (15/2/12)