DL-H v West London MH Trust [2017] UKUT 387 (AAC), [2017] MHLO 33

Judicial summary from Gov.uk website: (1) "In deciding whether a patient is manifesting religious beliefs or mental disorder, a tribunal is entitled to take account of evidence from both religious and medical experts." (2) "A tribunal is entitled to use its own expertise to make a different diagnosis from those of the medical witnesses, provided it allows the parties a chance to make submissions and explains its decision."

Mind

The summary below is reproduced from Mind, 'Legal Newsletter' (March 2018).

A patient was detained on a section 37/41 since 2006. He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and personality disorder. He applied to the First-tier Tribunal who decided that he should remain in hospital.

The patient appealed to the Upper Tribunal but it was dismissed.

The patient said that he was expressing religious beliefs which weren’t a mental disorder and the hospital chaplain was a witness to support his case. The Upper Tribunal said that when they are deciding whether a patient is expressing religious beliefs or mental disorder, a tribunal can consider evidence from both religious and medical experts. The Upper Tribunal can only consider whether there is an error on a point of law but this assessment of evidence and finding of fact was a matter for the First Tier Tribunal. The judge confirmed that there is no rule of evidence that only a religious expert’s evidence is admissible on issues of religion.

A tribunal doesn’t have to agree with all of the evidence but it must have good reason not to. It is allowed to use its own expertise to make a different diagnosis from those of the medical witnesses, provided it allows the parties a chance to make submissions and explains its decision.


External link

BAILII.

Gov.uk website