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Drilldown: Cases

Not many cases (261 of them) have been added to the database so far. To see the full list of cases (2087) go to the Mental health case law page.

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Cases > Parties : A Local Authority or Parole Board or The_NHS_Trust or None

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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.

Blavo and Co Solicitors (SRA decision: closure) (2015) MHLO 70

Reasons for closure of Blavo & Co Solicitors

The SRA closed down Blavo & Co Solicitors and suspended John Blavo's practising certificate, giving the following reasons: (a) there is reason to suspect dishonesty of the part of a manager or employee of Blavo & Co Solicitors Limited; (b) there is reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of John Blavo in connection with his practice; (c) to protect the interests of clients of Blavo & Co Solicitors Limited.

BP v London Borough of Harrow (2019) EWCOP 20

Costs in s21A case

"The relevant circumstances of the adjournment of the January hearing are that the Respondent, the London Borough of Harrow, offered at the hearing a trial of BP returning home. ... For the Applicant, it is submitted that this is a case where it is appropriate to depart from the usual costs rule and to order the costs of the January hearing be paid by the Respondent because of the Respondent's consistent failure to offer a trial period at home before the start of and for the duration of the proceedings, and its decision to do so only after the January hearing had commenced. ... Overall, I can see the basis on which the Applicant considers an application for costs to be justified. However, this was a finely balanced case on the Applicant's own submissions in position statements, in particular that of 15 June 2018. I bear in mind the authorities on which the parties rely, in particular the Applicant's reliance on the comments of Hooper LJ in the Court of Appeal. I note the circumstances of Manchester City Council v. G, E and F [2010] EWHC 3385 were quite different. On balance and considering the circumstances as a whole, I am not persuaded that it is appropriate to depart from the general rule on this occasion. I decide this based on the chronological position of the parties set out above and all the circumstances. The Respondent's conduct falls short, to what degree is immaterial, of the necessary test. This case does not represent a blatant disregard of the processes of the Act and the Respondent's obligation to respect BP's rights under ECHR as in the Manchester case (paraphrased slightly)."

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)."

Practice Guidance (Court of Protection: Serious Medical Treatment) (2020) EWCOP 2

Serious medical treatment guidance

"This practice guidance sets out the procedure to be followed where a decision relating to medical treatment arises and where thought requires to be given to bringing an application before the Court of Protection. The procedure is currently being reviewed within the revised MCA Code. That will, in due course, be subject to public consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny. This guidance is intended to operate until such time as it is superseded by the revised Code."

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.

R v Edwards (2018) EWCA Crim 595

Sentencing guidance, including s37 and s45A

These four cases were listed before the court to consider issues arising from the sentencing of mentally ill offenders to indeterminate terms of imprisonment. (1) Comparison of release regimes under s37/41 and s45A. (2) Rules governing applications to this court to advance new grounds or fresh evidence. (3) General principles: "Finally, to assist those representing and sentencing offenders with mental health problems that may justify a hospital order, a finding of dangerousness and/or a s.45A order, we summarise the following principles we have extracted from the statutory framework and the case law. (i) The first step is to consider whether a hospital order may be appropriate. (ii) If so, the judge should then consider all his sentencing options including a s.45A order. (iii) In deciding on the most suitable disposal the judge should remind him or herself of the importance of the penal element in a sentence. (iv) To decide whether a penal element to the sentence is necessary the judge should assess (as best he or she can) the offender’s culpability and the harm caused by the offence. The fact that an offender would not have committed the offence but for their mental illness does not necessarily relieve them of all responsibility for their actions. (v) A failure to take prescribed medication is not necessarily a culpable omission; it may be attributable in whole or in part to the offender’s mental illness. (vi) If the judge decides to impose a hospital order under s.37/41, he or she must explain why a penal element is not appropriate. (vii) The regimes on release of an offender on licence from a s.45A order and for an offender subject to s.37/41 orders are different but the latter do not necessarily offer a greater protection to the public, as may have been assumed in Ahmed and/or or by the parties in the cases before us. Each case turns on its own facts. (viii) If an offender wishes to call fresh psychiatric evidence in his appeal against sentence to support a challenge to a hospital order, a finding of dangerousness or a s45A order he or she should lodge a s.23 application. If the evidence is the same as was called before the sentencing judge the court is unlikely to receive it. (ix) Grounds of appeal should identify with care each of the grounds the offender wishes to advance. If an applicant or appellant wishes to add grounds not considered by the single judge an application to vary should be made." (4) The court considered the individual appeals/application, noting that it is appellate not a review court and that the question is whether the sentence imposed was manifestly excessive or wrong in principle.

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 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 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 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."

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