02/02/16 (1): Legal Aid/freezing order case.Lord Chancellor v John Blavo (2016) EWHC 126 (QB), (2016) MHLO 6 — There was a strongly arguable case that John Blavo was party to an arrangement whereby false claims were submitted to the LAA in many thousands of cases, there was evidence of a less than scrupulous approach to his duty of disclosure to the Court, and evidence of a recent attempt improperly to put property beyond the reach of the Lord Chancellor. Taking these matters together there was a real risk that any judgment would go unsatisfied because of disposal of assets. Given the sums of money involved and the admitted financial difficulties it was just and convenient in all the circumstances to continue the freezing order. (The precursor to the official investigation was an audit during which 49 files were passed to the LAA's counter-fraud team, whose conclusions included: "In respect of 42 of these 49 files HMCTS have confirmed that they have no record of there having been tribunal proceedings either in respect of the individual client or on the date when the file indicates...Following this, the LAA made inquiries of the NHS on a selection of files among the 42 that had no tribunal hearing and the NHS confirmed that they have no records relating to 16 of the clients... After completing this analysis the Applicant undertook a further comparison of all mental health tribunal claims against the HMCTS system. As a result of this analysis, it was found that the Company had submitted a total of 24,658 claims for attendance at tribunals of which 1485 (6%) tribunals were recorded by HMCTS as having taken place... After visiting the Company's Head Offce and requesting documentation from the Company and the Respondent, the LAA team used an electronic sampling tool to randomly select 144 cases for further investigation, across the last three complete financial years. Only 3% could be evidenced from HMCTS records...")
31/01/16 (1): Deprivation of liberty case.Birmingham City Council v D (2016) EWCOP 8, (2016) MHLO 5 — (1) A parent cannot consent to the confinement (i.e. the objective element of Article 5 deprivation of liberty) of a child who has attained the age of 16. (2) The confinement was imputable to the state despite the accommodation being provided under s20 Children Act 1989, as the local authority had taken a central role; in any event, even if D's confinement were a purely private affair the state would have a positive obligation under Article 5(1) to protect him. (3) The judge did not resile from his previous judgment that D's parents could consent to his confinement in hospital when he was under 16.
30/01/16 (2): MHLA: Panel course - London, 14/3/16 and 15/3/16 — The Mental Health Lawyers Association are running their Panel Course on Monday 14/3/16 and Tuesday 15/3/16 in London. The MHLA is an approved provider of the two-day course which must be attended by prospective members of the Law Society’s mental health accreditation scheme. Price: £300 (MHLA members); £390 (non-members); £270 (group discount). CPD: 12 hours. See MHLA website for further details and to book online.
30/01/16 (1): MHLA: Panel course - Leeds, 2/3/16 and 3/3/16. — The Mental Health Lawyers Association are running their Panel Course on Wednesday 2/3/16 and Thursday 3/3/16 in Leeds. The MHLA is an approved provider of the two-day course which must be attended by prospective members of the Law Society’s mental health accreditation scheme. Price: £300 (MHLA members); £390 (non-members); £270 (group discount). CPD: 12 hours. See MHLA website for further details and to book online.