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Drilldown: Cases

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Cases > Judges: Thomas Church

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Page name Sentence Summary
DA v Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (2019) UKUT 348 (AAC)

Proceeding in absence of solicitor and patient

The tribunal refused to adjourn the case of a CTO patient who had not attended the hearing, then the solicitor left the hearing because she felt unable to represent the patient in those circumstances. (1) The tribunal's initial decision to proceed in the patient's absence referred to rule 39(1) (whether the party had been notified of the hearing or reasonable steps had been taken to notify the party of the hearing, and whether it was in the interests of justice to proceed with the hearing) and rule 39(2)(a) (whether the patient had decided not to attend the hearing or was unable to attend the hearing for reasons of ill health) but not rule 39(2)(b) (whether a rule 34 medical examination of the patient been carried out or was impractical or unnecessary). However, given the assumption that, as an expert tribunal, it will have got the law right, it was more likely than not that the tribunal decided it was impractical to carry out an examination. (2) The tribunal had not considered making an appointment under rule 11(7), but this was unnecessary as there was no indication that the patient had withdrawn her instructions or lacked capacity. (3) When the solicitor departed, it was incumbent upon the tribunal to make a fresh assessment under rule 39(1) as to whether it was in the interests of justice to proceed with the hearing. Its reasons did not mention the departure and it was unlikely that the tribunal had carried out such an assessment; even if it had done so, the lack of any explanation would have rendered the reasons inadequate. (4) The matter was remitted to the First-tier Tribunal for a re-hearing by a differently-constituted panel.

PM v Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (2020) UKUT 69 (AAC)

Lawfulness and availability of treatment

The tribunal had been wrong to find that appropriate medical treatment was "available" for a CTO patient for whom the lack of a SOAD certificate meant that two days after the hearing her treatment could not lawfully be given (unless she were to be recalled to hospital and the administration of her depot were to become immediately necessary). This was the case even though the treatment could have been given on the hearing date: the tribunal should look at the whole course of treatment, not merely a snapshot.

SLL v Priory Healthcare Limited (2019) UKUT 323 (AAC)

Inadequate reasons for not absolutely discharging

The patient challenged the tribunal's decision to grant a conditional, rather than absolute, discharge. (1) Ground 1: Failure properly to apply the two-stage process required by s73(1) and (2). The MHRT had decided (under s73(1)) that the s72(1)(b)(i) (appropriateness) test was not met, and had moved straight to s73(2) (absolute or conditional discharge) without considering s72(1)(b)(ii) (necessity) or s72(1)(b)(iia) (appropriate treatment). The UT decided that the statute permitted the tribunal to stop once it had decided that it was not satisfied of the first s72 test. However, s73(2) required the tribunal to make findings on substantially similar matters, albeit on a forward-looking basis, and to make a decision on the type of discharge on the basis of those findings. Without express findings (in particular in relation to potential medical treatment for any psychotic condition the patient may suffer from) and an explanation of how the relevant factors were weighed (including the two factors discussed below) it was not possible to be sure how the tribunal reached its decision. The UT gave guidance in paras 33-35 on the findings likely to be required when considering s73(2), and in para 47 on the appropriateness of treatment with no realistic prospect of therapeutic benefit. (2) Ground 2: Failure to give adequate reasons. The Appellant had presented credible expert evidence that risk could be managed by future Part 2 detention rather than the recall power, so it was incumbent on the Tribunal to explain why it was not persuaded by that evidence: instead, it had merely quoted another doctor's evidence (which stated that recall would be available but did not grapple with the Part 2 issue) and said that this evidence was "more apt". The Appellant had also argued that the setting of a psychiatric hospital was positively harmful, and the tribunal had failed to explain its rejection of this argument. Taken as a whole it was not adequately clear why the tribunal was not satisfied that it was inappropriate for the Appellant to continue to be liable to recall to hospital for further treatment.

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