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JT v UK 26494/95 (2000) ECHR 133

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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.

Facts

JT had been detained under s3 between 1984 and 1996. JT complained under Article 8 that she could not change her nearest relative.

MHA 1983 s26 determines the identity of a patient's NR. The nearest relative may authorise another person to carry out the functions of NR (Regulation 14). The NR can be displaced under s29 but the patient can have no involvement in this.

The reports during detention detailed JT's difficult relationship with her mother; her repeated allegations of sexual abuse by her step-father, and her fear and hatred of him; that she did not want her mother to know her whereabouts as the step-father lived with her mother; and her wish to replace her mother as NR and replace her with a social worker. The mother had not agreed to delegate her NR function so the matter remained unresolved.

The Commission (First Chamber) had unanimously concluded that there had been a violation of Article 8.

Decision

The court noted the terms of the government's proposed friendly settlement:

The relevant legislation was to be amended to provide the detainee with the power to make an application to court to have the "nearest relative" replaced where the patient reasonably objected to a certain person acting in that capacity. It was also to provide for the exclusion of certain persons from acting as "nearest relative".

The government also had paid £500 compensation plus legal fees.

Therefore, the court decided to strike the case out of the list.

Other

The change was introduced by the MHA 2007:

Resources

Bailii - full text

Detailed summary on 1 COR website

The Mental Health Bill: Plans to amend the Mental Health Act 1983 - Briefing sheets on key policy areas where changes are proposed

Nearest relative briefing sheet