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Page name Sentence Summary
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)."

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."

R v C (2008) EWCA Crim 1155

Capacity to consent to sexual activity

If the complainant consented to sexual activity against her inclination because she was frightened of the defendant, even if her fear was irrational and caused by her mental disorder, it did not follow that she lacked the capacity to choose whether to agree to sexual activity. [Overturned on appeal.]

R v C (2009) UKHL 42

Sexual consent

For the purposes of s30 Sexual Offences Act 2003: (1) lack of capacity to choose can be person or situation specific; (2) an irrational fear arising from mental disorder that prevents the exercise of choice could amount to a lack of capacity to choose; (3) inability to communicate could be as a result of a mental or physical disorder.

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 C (Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage: Fact Finding) (2019) EWHC 3449 (Fam)

Vulnerable witnesses

Paragraphs 14-18 deal with "Assessing the Evidence of Vulnerable Witnesses", including the following: "Despite my very considerable sympathy for witnesses with significant vulnerabilities such as the mother in this case, my clear view is that there is one standard of proof which applies without modification irrespective of the characteristics of witnesses, including vulnerable witnesses to whom Part 3A and PD3AA apply. I observe that many vulnerable witnesses are just as likely as anyone else either to tell the truth or to lie deliberately or misunderstand events. It would be unfair and discriminatory to discount a witness's evidence because of their inherent vulnerabilities (including mental and cognitive disabilities) and it would be equally wrong in principle not to apply a rigorous analysis to a witness's evidence merely because they suffer from mental, cognitive or emotional difficulties. To do otherwise would, in effect, attenuate the standard of proof when applied to witnesses of fact with such vulnerabilities. ... Having said that, I offer the following observations, none of them particularly novel, which might assist in assessing the evidence of vulnerable witnesses, particularly those with learning disabilities. First, it is simplistic to conclude that the evidence of such a witness is inherently unreliable. Second, it is probably unfair to expect the same degree of verbal fluency and articulacy which one might expect in a witness without those problems. Third, it is important not to evaluate the evidence of such a witness on the basis of intuition which may or may not be unconsciously biased. Finally, it is important to take into account and make appropriate allowances for that witness's disability or vulnerability, assisted by any expert or other evidence available."

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 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."

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v C (2020) EWCOP 10

Treatment despite religious delusions

(1) Having previously undergone two hysteroscopies, and initially consented to removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes, C disengaged, expressed religious views (such as that only God could cure her cancer), and was assessed as lacking capacity. The judge decided that "she clearly lacked capacity and her rejection of the treatment, which is clinically so manifestly in her best interests, is predicated on a delusional belief structure which manifests itself in the language of religion". (2) The delay in this case, which was attributable to the treating clinicians not initially knowing C had paranoid schizophrenia, and their reluctance to contemplate coercion, should not have happened and likely stressed C and her family, but had not led to neglect of the cancer.

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