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|James v James (2018) EWHC 43 (Ch)||
Banks v Goodfellow test for testamentary capacity survives MCA
"There is a preliminary question of law as to the test to be applied for testamentary capacity in a case like this, where the testator has made a will, died, and then the question of capacity has arisen. The traditional test for such a case is that laid down in Banks v Goodfellow (1870) LR 5 QB 549, 565, per Cockburn CJ: 'It is essential … that a testator shall understand the nature of his act and its effects; shall understand the extent of the property of which he is disposing; shall be able to comprehend and appreciate the claims to which he ought to give effect, and, with a view to the latter object, that no disorder of the mind shall poison his affections, avert his sense of right, or prevent the exercise of his natural faculties, that no insane delusion shall influence his will in disposing of his property and bring about a disposal of it which, if his mind had been sound, would not have been made.' ... More recently the Mental Capacity Act 2005 has made fresh provision for the law of mental capacity in certain situations. What is unfortunately not made express in that legislation is the extent to which this fresh provision affects the test for capacity to make a will when that question is being judged retrospectively (typically, though not necessarily, post mortem). ... The general rule of precedent, as applied in the High Court, is that that court is not strictly bound by decisions of co-ordinate jurisdiction, but will follow them as a matter of comity unless convinced they are wrong ... As it happens, I think the decision in Walker v Badmin  EWHC 71 (Ch)Not on Bailii! [that the test in Banks v Goodfellow not only had survived the enactment of the 2005 Act, but that it, rather than anything in the Act, was still the sole test of capacity for judging will-making capacity in retrospect] is right, and for the reasons given by the deputy judge. ... Whilst it is a complication to have two tests for mental capacity in making wills, one prospective and the other retrospective, it is a complication created by the decision of Parliament to legislate as it has, a decision that the courts must respect."
|NHS Trust v Y (2018) UKSC 46||
Court order not always necessary for withdrawal of CANH
"The question that arises in this appeal is whether a court order must always be obtained before clinically assisted nutrition and hydration, which is keeping alive a person with a prolonged disorder of consciousness, can be withdrawn, or whether, in some circumstances, this can occur without court involvement. ... In conclusion, having looked at the issue in its wider context as well as from a narrower legal perspective, I do not consider that it has been established that the common law or the ECHR, in combination or separately, give rise to the mandatory requirement, for which the Official Solicitor contends, to involve the court to decide upon the best interests of every patient with a prolonged disorder of consciousness before CANH can be withdrawn. If the provisions of the MCA 2005 are followed and the relevant guidance observed, and if there is agreement upon what is in the best interests of the patient, the patient may be treated in accordance with that agreement without application to the court. I would therefore dismiss the appeal. In so doing, however, I would emphasise that, although application to court is not necessary in every case, there will undoubtedly be cases in which an application will be required (or desirable) because of the particular circumstances that appertain, and there should be no reticence about involving the court in such cases."
|Re A-F (Children) (2018) EWHC 138 (Fam)||
DOL - children
"... [T]he situation of the "young" or "very young" ... does not involve a "confinement" for the purposes of Storck component (a), even though such a child is living in circumstances which plainly satisfy the Cheshire West "acid test". ... For all present purposes, "confinement" means not simply "confining" a young child to a playpen or by closing a door, but something more: an interruption or curtailment of the freedom of action normally to be ascribed to a child of that age and understanding. ... Now at this point in the analysis a difficult question arises which has not hitherto been addressed, at least directly. At what point in the child's development, and by reference to what criteria, does one determine whether and when a state of affairs satisfying the "acid test" in Cheshire West which has hitherto not involved a "confinement" for the purposes of Storck component (a), and where Article 5 has accordingly not been engaged, becomes a "confinement" for that purpose, therefore engaging Article 5 (unless, that is, a valid consent has been given by someone exercising parental responsibility)? ... [W]hether a state of affairs which satisfies the "acid test" amounts to a "confinement" for the purposes of Storck component (a) has to be determined by comparing the restrictions to which the child in question is subject with the restrictions which would apply to a child of the same "age", "station", "familial background" and "relative maturity" who is "free from disability". ... The question is raised as to whether it is possible to identify a minimum age below which a child is unlikely to be "confined", and hence to be deprived of their liberty, given the expectation that a comparable child of the same age would also likely be under continuous supervision and control and not free to leave. ... Inevitably, one has to proceed on a case-by-case basis, having regard to the actual circumstances of the child and comparing them with the notional circumstances of the typical child of (to use Lord Kerr's phraseology) the same "age", "station", "familial background" and "relative maturity" who is "free from disability". ...[T]he best I can do, by way, I emphasise, of little more than 'rule of thumb', is to suggest that: (i) A child aged 10, even if under pretty constant supervision, is unlikely to be "confined" for the purpose of Storck component (a). (ii) A child aged 11, if under constant supervision, may, in contrast be so "confined", though the court should be astute to avoid coming too readily to such a conclusion. (iii) Once a child who is under constant supervision has reached the age of 12, the court will more readily come to that conclusion. That said, all must depend upon the circumstances of the particular case and upon the identification by the judge in the particular case of the attributes of the relevant comparator as described by Lord Kerr. The question is also raised whether, in undertaking the comparison required by the "acid test", the comparison should be made with a 'typical' child of the same age who is subject to a care order. The answer in my judgment is quite clearly, No. ... I turn to matters of process and procedure."