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Cases > Parties : A Local Authority or B or CM & Court : Scottish Court of Session or Other

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Page name Sentence Summary
A Local Authority v AT and FE (2017) EWHC 2458 (Fam)

Child, no approved secure accommodation available, deprivation of liberty

"Section 25 of the Children Act 1989 makes express and detailed provision for the making of what are known as secure accommodation orders. Such orders may be made and, indeed, frequently are made by courts, including courts composed of lay magistrates. It is not necessary to apply to the High Court for a secure accommodation order. However, as no approved secure accommodation was available, the local authority required the authorisation of a court for the inevitable deprivation of liberty of the child which would be involved. It appears that currently such authorisation can only be given by the High Court in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction. ... I am increasingly concerned that the device of resort to the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court is operating to by-pass the important safeguard under the regulations of approval by the Secretary of State of establishments used as secure accommodation. ... In my own experience it is most unusual that a secure accommodation order could be made without the attendance of the child if of sufficient age and if he wished to attend, and without the child being properly legally represented. It is true, as Mr Flood says, that this is not an application for a secure accommodation order, but the analogy is a very close one. Indeed, the only reason why a secure accommodation order is not being applied for is because an approved secure accommodation unit is not available. It seems to me, therefore, that the statutory safeguards within section 25 should not be outflanked or sidestepped simply because a local authority have been forced, due to lack of available resources, to apply for the exercise of the inherent jurisdiction of this court rather than the statutory order. ... I propose to order that the child now be joined as a party to these proceedings and Cafcass must forthwith allocate a guardian to act on his behalf. ... In my view it is very important that ordinarily in these situations, which in plain language involve a child being 'locked up', the child concerned should, if he wishes, have an opportunity to attend a court hearing. The exception to that is clearly if the child is so troubled that it would be damaging to his health, wellbeing or emotional stability to do so."

A Local Authority v BF (2018) EWCA Civ 2962

Inherent jurisdiction to authorise DOL of vulnerable adult

An interim order made on 10/12/18 required BF to reside at a care home, over Christmas, and not at his own or his son's home, despite BF's having capacity to make decisions about his residence and wanting to return home. The order was expressed to last until a further hearing to take place no later than 31/1/19 (later fixed for 16/1/19) when the judge could hear full argument on what relief could be granted pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction. The local authority appealed on the basis that the order infringed Article 5. Permission to appeal was refused: (1) BF is a vulnerable adult (old, blind, infirm, in a squalid and dangerous home, with undue influence present in relationship with son) who needs protection despite not lacking capacity. (2) The test of "unsound mind" is different from the test of capacity, and there is prima facie evidence that he may be of unsound mind. (3) In an emergency situation, someone may be deprived of their liberty in the absence of evidence of mental disorder without infringing Article 5 (Winterwerp); even if BF is found not to be of unsound mind, his vulnerability is such that he could not be returned home without careful planning, which is a crucial component of the protection afforded by the inherent jurisdiction.

A Local Authority v JB (2020) EWCA Civ 735

Capacity and sexual relations

"The issue arising on this appeal is whether a person, in order to have capacity to decide to have sexual relations with another person, needs to understand that the other person must at all times be consenting to sexual relations."

An NHS Foundation Trust v AB (2019) EWCOP 26

Abortion

"This is an application by the NHS Trust for an order in respect of a 24 year old woman AB who is 22 weeks pregnant and, who the Trust say lacks capacity and in whose best interests it is said to have a termination of pregnancy. ... I would like to record my unhappiness about the lateness of this application. AB is now estimated to be 22 weeks pregnant and therefore the cut-off date under the Abortion Act 1967 of 24 weeks is imminent. ... I am acutely conscious of the fact that for the state to order someone to have a termination, where it appears that they do not want it, is immensely intrusive and certainly interferes with her Article 8 rights. ... In my view the balance in terms of AB's best interests lies in her having the termination."

B v A Local Authority (2019) EWCA Civ 913

(1) Overlap between different decisions; (2) Sex

(1) "The important questions on these appeals are as to the factors relevant to making the determinations of capacity which are under challenge and as to the approach to assessment of capacity when the absence of capacity to make a particular decision would conflict with a conclusion that there is capacity to make some other decision." (2) The Court of Appeal also decided on what is necessary to have capacity to consent to sexual relations.

CB v Medway Council (2019) EWCOP 5

Unfair summary disposal of DOL/residence case

"The simple issue is whether the Judge had sufficient information before her to discount, at this stage, any real possibility of CB returning to her home, supported by the extensive and expensive care package that is being mooted. The language of the Judgment itself, to my mind, answers this question in phrases such as “I very much doubt…. I am very sceptical…. The practicalities are…. likely to be extremely difficult….” I share the Judge’s scepticism and I also very much doubt that even with an extensive package of support a return home will be in CB’s best interest. I note too that Dr Ajiteru expressed himself in cautious terms (see para 10 above). However, scepticism and “doubt” is not sufficient to discount a proper enquiry in to such a fundamental issue of individual liberty. ... It is easy to see why the Judge took the course she did and I have a good deal of sympathy with her. She will have recognised, as do I, that the effluxion of time has had its own impact on the viability of the options in this case. However, what is involved here is nothing less than CB’s liberty. Curtailing, restricting or depriving any adult of such a fundamental freedom will always require cogent evidence and proper enquiry. I cannot envisage any circumstances where it would be right to determine such issues on the basis of speculation and general experience in other cases."

CM v Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (2011) UKUT 129 (AAC)

Nature and degree

(1) The Tribunal's decision not to discharge was made in error of law, and was set aside, (a) because there was no real evidence to support its view that non-compliance with medication and the risk of consequent relapse in the near future would probably occur, (b) because it did not establish that in these circumstances it had complied with the 'least restriction principle', (c) because of the irrationality in paragraph 21 of its decision (in that as the risk was of what might eventually happen it was hard to see how the envisaged leave regime could test that risk), and (d) because continued detention for the purposes of avoiding a chaotic lifestyle or drug taking or the absence of drug counselling is not permitted by law on the facts of this case. (2) The judgment contains a discussion of the 'nature' and 'degree' tests.

P v A Local Authority (2015) EWCOP 89

Discharge from DOLS

"This is an application by P (the Applicant) acting through his litigation friend, the Official Solicitor, for an order under section 21A of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) discharging the standard authorisation made on 24 June 2015 which authorises a deprivation of liberty in his current accommodation (the placement)."

QJ v A Local Authority (2020) EWCOP 3

Finely-balanced treatment decision

(1) This s21A appeal was adjourned for medical evidence in relation to whether QJ had capacity (a) to decide on whether to receive nutrition and hydration either orally or artificially; (b) to decide more generally on medical treatment; and (c) to decide on admission to hospital. (2) On the day of the hearing QJ had for the first time indicated a willingness to be put on a drip. Even if QJ were now found to have capacity, the case should still come back before the court because: (a) it may very well be a "finely balaced" decision (and so within Practice Guidance (Court of Protection: Serious Medical Treatment) [2020] EWCOP 2); and, in any event, (b) where there is already an application in relation to the central issue the matter should only be concluded within court proceedings and not left to clinical decisions.

QJ v A Local Authority (2020) EWCOP 7

Capacity and nutrition/hydration

QJ had capacity to decide about nutrition and hydration despite his reluctance to answer certain questions. He was in agreement with the care plan, which included (a) Fortisip; (b) weighing; (c) discharge to a care home; (d) no readmission to hospital if he refuses to accept food or water.

Re AB (Termination of Pregnancy) (2019) EWCA Civ 1215

Abortion

"The requirement is for the court to consider both wishes and feelings. The judge placed emphasis on the fact that AB's wishes were not clear and were not clearly expressed. She was entitled to do that but the fact remains that AB's feelings were, as for any person, learning disabled or not, uniquely her own and are not open to the same critique based upon cognitive or expressive ability. AB's feelings were important and should have been factored into the balancing exercise alongside consideration of her wishes. ... [I]n my judgement, she clearly gave inadequate weight to the non-medical factors in the case, while the views expressed by the doctors were necessarily significantly predicated upon imponderables. In the end, the evidence taken as a whole was simply not sufficient to justify the profound invasion of AB's rights represented by the non-consensual termination of this advanced pregnancy."

Re B (2020) MHLO 18 (FTT)

Direction for postponement of CTO hearing set aside

The initial decision indefinitely to postpone a CTO patient's hearing (in accordance with Mental Health Tribunal, 'Order and directions for all community patients who are subject to a CTO or conditional discharge and who have applied or been referred to the tribunal for the duration of the Pilot Practice Direction' (26/3/20)) was set aside by the First-tier Tribunal.

Re B (Capacity: Social Media: Care and Contact) (2019) EWCOP 3

Social media and sexual relations

"By this judgment, I set out my conclusions in relation to a range of capacity questions on issues relevant to Miss B’s life, including her capacity: (i) To litigate in these proceedings...; (ii) To manage her property and affairs...; (iii) To decide where she resides...; (iv) To decide on her package of care...; (v) To decide with whom she has contact...; (vi) To use the internet and communicate by social media; (specifically, it is agreed that the question is ‘whether Miss B has capacity to make a decision to use social media for the purposes of developing or maintaining connections with others’)...; (vii) To consent to sexual relations... It is clear that the information relevant to the decision in this area includes: (i) the sexual nature and character of the act of sexual intercourse, the mechanics of the act; (ii) the reasonably foreseeable consequences of sexual intercourse, namely pregnancy; (iii) the opportunity to say no; i.e. to choose whether or not to engage in it and the capacity to decide whether to give or withhold consent to sexual intercourse. (iv) that there are health risks involved, particularly the acquisition of sexually transmitted and transmissible infections; (v) that the risks of sexually transmitted infection can be reduced by the taking of precautions such as the use of a condom."

Re C (Lay Advocates) (2019) EWHC 3738 (Fam)

Lay advocates in public law family proceedings

"In my judgment that there is no material difference between the services provided by an interpreter, an intermediary or a lay advocate insofar as they each enable and support parties and witnesses to communicate and understand these proceedings. HMCTS routinely pay for the services of interpreters and intermediaries, I cannot see any principled reason why it should not also pay for the services of lay advocates in an appropriate case. ... Accordingly, I will appoint a lay advocate for the mother and a lay advocate for the father. They cost £30 per hour which I consider to be entirely reasonable. I have assessed the likely number of hours of work on this for the lay advocates to be 50 hours."

Re CM (Judicial Review) (2013) CSOH 143

Scottish smoking ban

"The petitioner asks the court to declare that the respondents' 'policy of a complete smoking ban and prohibition of possession of tobacco products by patients at the State Hospital' is unlawful; and also to declare that the respondents' policy has breached the petitioner's human rights, specifically article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to respect for private life and home) as a stand-alone claim and in combination with article 14 ECHR (enjoyment of Convention rights without discrimination) and the first protocol, article 1 ECHR (right not to be deprived of property) as a stand-alone claim and in combination with article 14 ECHR (enjoyment of Convention rights without discrimination). ... I have come to the view, though with reluctance, that the decision to compel the petitioner to stop smoking was flawed in every possible way. In that it relied on compulsion, the decision was contrary to the national policy which it purported to implement. The decision should have been made with reference to the section 1 principles of the 2003 Act but was not, and was in contravention of the obligations imposed by section 1 on the respondents. The respondents did not, for example, take account of the petitioner's wishes, or provide him with the requisite information; and on no reasonable view could they have reached the conclusion that the smoking ban, to the extent that it was necessary, was implemented in 'the manner that involves the minimum restriction on the freedom of' the petitioner. Whether or not consultation is a legal requirement, if it is embarked on it must be carried out properly. I am satisfied that the compulsory 'comprehensive smoke-free' regime was a foregone conclusion and that the consultation exercise was not a meaningful one... If article 8 ECHR is engaged, and I hold that it is, it is for the respondents to justify interfering with the petitioner's right to make his own decision about smoking. They have failed to do so satisfactorily. Indeed, I am satisfied that the decision to stop the petitioner smoking in the hospital grounds constituted interference with the petitioner's article 8 ECHR rights without lawful warrant - because it was not made in accordance with section 1 principles - and because it went further than was necessary to achieve the legitimate aim in question, namely to protect third parties from the petitioner's cigarette smoke. The respondents have also failed to demonstrate an 'objective and reasonable justification' for treating the petitioner differently from adult, long-term prisoners, who can smoke if they wish. Going further, on the material presented to me and in the absence of any other suggestion, it appears that the only justification for imposing a smoking ban on mental health detainees like the petitioner and not on penal detainees is that it is feasible to compel mental health detainees to stop smoking because of their vulnerability. This is not a legitimate justification. Accordingly I hold that there has been a violation of the petitioner's right not to be discriminated against in the enjoyment of his article 8 ECHR rights contrary to article 14 ECHR."

Re D: A v B (2020) EWCOP 1

Court of Protection permission

(1) The appropriate threshold for permission under MCA 2005 s50 is the same as that applicable in the field of judicial review: to gain permission the claimant or applicant has to demonstrate a good arguable case. (2) In the current case, the decision to be made was "whether a good arguable case has been shown that it is in [D's] best interests for there to be a full welfare investigation of the current contact arrangements" and the judge's conclusion was: "I cannot say that I am satisfied that the mother has shown a good arguable case that a substantive application would succeed if permission were granted."

Re FX (2017) EWCOP 36

Capacity - residence, care, contact and finances

"I am concerned with capacity issues in respect of FX. The proceedings are brought by FX through his litigation friend the Official Solicitor. ... The proceedings commenced by application dated 16 September 2016 as a challenge to a standard authorisation which authorised the deprivation of FX's liberty at Care Home A. ... During the course of these proceedings FX has asserted that he has capacity to make decisions in respect of residence, care, contact and finances. ... It is not argued by any party that he lacks capacity in respect of contact. There is no dispute that FX lacks capacity to litigate these proceedings. ... FX is 32 years of age. He has a diagnosis of Prader-Willi Syndrome PWS. ... I am satisfied that FX has capacity to make the relevant decisions in respect of residence and care [and finances: paras 41 and 47] as are required at this time. Should a situation arise where there are complex decisions to be made it may be necessary to reconsider issues of capacity in light of those decisions."

Re HC (A Minor: Deprivation of Liberty) (2018) EWHC 2961 (Fam)

DOL of child

"HC has just turned 13 years of age. I shall refer to his parents in this judgment as, respectively, M and F, and to his brother as B. HC currently lives in a residential unit in Yorkshire ("the unit"). By application dated 18th July 2018, the local authority responsible for HC's placement asks that the court determine whether HC's placement constitutes a deprivation of his liberty and, if this question is answered in the affirmative, for authorisation, by way of declaratory relief pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction. ... Although the LA brings the application, it does not assert a position one way or the other in relation to whether HC's placement at the unit constitutes a deprivation of his liberty. Exploring this rather unusual position with Ms Shaikh, I was told that the LA sought only to present the facts to the court and to leave it to me to adjudge whether the particular regime and its inherent restrictions constitutes a deprivation of liberty. In the event that I do so find, the LA seeks authorisation of the deprivation as being necessary and proportionate."

Re M: A v Z (2018) EWCOP 4

COP bias

"This matter concerns an appeal from the order of HHJ Roberts made on 18 July 2018 in Court of Protection (COP) proceedings concerning M. The appellants are M's mother and father in law who have the care of X, M's son age 12. ... Mr Simblet relies on four grounds of appeal: (1) There was apparent bias, in that the judge stated her intention in the exchange between the judge and the legal representatives, in the absence of the parties, to decide the application consistent with decisions made in different proceedings. (2) The judge wrongly felt constrained to reach a decision that would be consistent with a decision she had reached in different proceedings. (3) There was a material irregularity, in that the Judge took into account material from different proceedings, and the [paternal grandparents] within the COP proceedings were unable to properly know the case against them or that they had to meet. (4) In reaching her decision the judge failed to identify or give sufficient weight to factors that were relevant to M's best interests."

Re P (Sexual Relations and Contraception): A Local Authority v P (2018) EWCOP 10

Sex and covert contraception

"This judgment in long-running proceedings involving a vulnerable young woman, hereafter referred to as 'P', addresses difficult issues concerning her sexual relationships and the covert insertion of a contraceptive device. ... I shall address these issues in the following order: (1) Capacity - general principles. (2) P's capacity other than sexual relations. (3) P's capacity to consent to sexual relations. (4) Best interests: general principles. (5) Best interests: contraception. (6) Best interests: covert treatment (6) Best interests: sexual relationships and supervision. (7) Further issues arising from the draft order." ... Given the serious infringement of rights involved in the covert insertion of a contraceptive device, it is in my judgement highly probable that, in most, if not all, cases, professionals faced with a decision whether to take that step will conclude that it is appropriate to apply to the court to facilitate a comprehensive analysis of best interests, with P having the benefit of legal representation and independent expert advice.

SR v A Local Authority (2018) EWCOP 36

Contact

"At the hearing on 9th April 2018, A Local Authority applied orally for orders restricting SR's contact with her husband JR. A Local Authority sought orders preventing JR from taking SR out of the care home unless accompanied by a member of staff or a relative in the light of concerns on the part of A Local Authority about JR's expressed views in relation to euthanasia and other comments made by him from time to time. ... Whilst I accept that JR's comments have given rise to legitimate anxiety on the part of the professionals, I do not consider that there was adequate investigation into the reasons why JR has made such comments and what he understands by the notion of supporting euthanasia, which from his evidence related to the right to self-determination and dignity. ... However, he was consistent that he would never dream of hurting his wife. Is it safe for the court to take that assertion at face value in the light of his expressed views and comments, some of which have been unpalatable? I take note of the fact that following the first comments in August 2016, SR returned home to live with JR until 9th November 2016. Between 9th November 2016 and 27th May 2017, extensive unsupervised contact took place within the care home and outside the care home. To date, JR remains alone with SR for approximately two hours per evening in a closed room. SR has remained safe and subject of devoted affection and attention from her husband. I have reached the conclusion that the restriction sought by A Local Authority is neither justifiable, proportionate or necessary."

Wye Valley NHS Trust v B (2015) EWCOP 60

Amputation - religious beliefs

"The issue in this case is whether it is lawful for the doctors treating Mr B, a 73-year-old gentleman with a severely infected leg, to amputate his foot against his wishes in order to save his life. Without the operation, the inevitable outcome is that he will shortly die, quite possibly within a few days. If he has the operation, he may live for a few years. Mr B also has a long-standing mental illness that deprives him of the capacity to make the decision for himself. The operation can therefore only be lawfully performed if it is in his best interests. ... Having considered all of the evidence and the parties' submissions, I have reached the clear conclusion that an enforced amputation would not be in Mr B's best interests. Mr B has had a hard life. Through no fault of his own, he has suffered in his mental health for half a century. He is a sociable man who has experienced repeated losses so that he has become isolated. He has no next of kin. No one has ever visited him in hospital and no one ever will. Yet he is a proud man who sees no reason to prefer the views of others to his own. His religious beliefs are deeply meaningful to him and do not deserve to be described as delusions: they are his faith and they are an intrinsic part of who he is. I would not define Mr B by reference to his mental illness or his religious beliefs. Rather, his core quality is his "fierce independence", and it is this that is now, as he sees it, under attack."

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