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Cases > Parties : CM or John Blavo or M or McCann or Rotherham Doncaster & South Humber NHS Foundation Trust

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Page name Sentence Summary
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.

John Blavo v Law Society (2017) EWHC 561 (Ch)

Statutory demands set aside

"In November 2015 the Law Society served a statutory demand on Mr Blavo claiming that he owed it £151,816.27. In February 2016 the Law Society served a second statutory demand on Mr Blavo claiming that he owed it a further £643,489.20. On 14 December 2015 Mr Blavo applied to set aside the first statutory demand. On 11 March 2016 Mr Blavo applied to set aside the second statutory demand. ... It is the costs of the intervention, from 15 October 2015 to 20 January 2016, into the company and Mr Blavo's practice which are the underlying subject matter of the statutory demands. ... It follows from all I have said that I have concluded that the statutory demands in this case should be set aside because the debts in question are not for liquidated sums."

John Blavo v Law Society (2018) EWCA Civ 2250

Intervention costs statutory demands

The Law Society successfully appealed against a decision to set aside two statutory demands (of £151,816.27 and £643,489.20) which had been served on John Blavo in relation to costs incurred in respect of the intervention into his practice.

Lord Chancellor v Blavo and Co Solictors Ltd (2018) EWHC 3556 (QB)

John Blavo personally ordered to repay Legal Aid claims

The High Court gave judgment for the Lord Chancellor against John Blavo in the sum of £22,136,001.71 following the allegation that Blavo & Co made dishonest claims for payment on the legal aid fund for thousands of cases where it was not entitled to any fee.

Lord Chancellor v John Blavo (2016) EWHC 126 (QB), (2016) MHLO 6

Freezing order continued

There was a strongly arguable case that John Blavo was party to an arrangement whereby false claims were submitted to the LAA in many thousands of cases, there was evidence of a less than scrupulous approach to his duty of disclosure to the Court, and evidence of a recent attempt improperly to put property beyond the reach of the Lord Chancellor. Taking these matters together there was a real risk that any judgment would go unsatisfied because of disposal of assets. Given the sums of money involved and the admitted financial difficulties it was just and convenient in all the circumstances to continue the freezing order. (The precursor to the official investigation was an audit during which 49 files were passed to the LAA's counter-fraud team, whose conclusions included: "In respect of 42 of these 49 files HMCTS have confirmed that they have no record of there having been tribunal proceedings either in respect of the individual client or on the date when the file indicates...Following this, the LAA made inquiries of the NHS on a selection of files among the 42 that had no tribunal hearing and the NHS confirmed that they have no records relating to 16 of the clients... After completing this analysis the Applicant undertook a further comparison of all mental health tribunal claims against the HMCTS system. As a result of this analysis, it was found that the Company had submitted a total of 24,658 claims for attendance at tribunals of which 1485 (6%) tribunals were recorded by HMCTS as having taken place... After visiting the Company's Head Office and requesting documentation from the Company and the Respondent, the LAA team used an electronic sampling tool to randomly select 144 cases for further investigation, across the last three complete financial years. Only 3% could be evidenced from HMCTS records...")

M v A Hospital (2017) EWCOP 19

Withdrawal of CANH

"This judgment is given: (a) To explain why CANH was withdrawn from M, a person in a minimally conscious state (MCS). (b) In response to the request of the parties for clarification of whether legal proceedings were necessary or not when there was agreement between M's family and her clinicians that CANH was no longer in her best interests. (c) To explain why the court appointed M's mother, Mrs B, as her litigation friend, rather than the Official Solicitor. The short answer to these questions is that: (a) CANH was withdrawn because it was not in M's best interests for it to be continued. The evidence showed that it had not been beneficial for the previous year. (b) In my view, it was not necessary as a matter of law for this case to have been brought to court, but given the terms of Practice Direction 9E and the state of the affairs before the very recent decision of the Court of Appeal on 31 July in the case of Briggs [2017] EWCA Civ 1169B, it is understandable that the application was made. (c) Mrs B was appointed as litigation friend because she was a proper person to act in that role: the fact that she supported the withdrawal of her daughter's treatment did not show that she had an adverse interest to her."

M v Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (2018) UKUT 120 (AAC)

Covert medication and MHT

The tribunal had failed to turn its mind to the extent to which (despite his lack of capacity to conduct proceedings) the patient was capable of participating in proceedings before addressing the test for non-disclosure. The appeal was allowed and the matter remitted to the tribunal to re-make its decision.

M v An NHS Trust (2017) MHLO 39 (UT)

Tribunal reasons

"[T]he tribunal's decision was made in error of law, but not [set aside]. In my grant of permission, I identified two possible errors of law. ... One of those errors was that the tribunal's reasons might be inadequate for being 'long on history and evidence but short on discussion.' ... There is, in truth, only one thing that really has to be said about the quality of reasons, which is that they must be adequate. Everything else is merely application of that principle to the circumstances of a particular case. ... [T]he second possible error [is] that the 'tribunal's reasoning shows that it was confused about its role and the [relevance] of a community treatment order'. ... [T]he reasons at least leave open the possibility that the tribunal may have strayed outside its proper remit. ... The first three sentences read: 'A cardinal issue of this application is whether the patient should be discharged from hospital by a CTO. This issue involves knowledge of the nature of a CTO. A CTO may only be imposed by the patient's RC ...' It may be that the judge did not express himself clearly, but that passage appears to begin by suggesting, and to continue by denying, that the tribunal had power to make Mr M subject to an order or was being asked to approve that course. The judge did then make a distinction between discharge from hospital and discharge from the liability to be detained. So it is possible that his reference to 'discharge from hospital by a CTO' may have been intended, not as a direction about the tribunal's powers on the application, but as a statement of how the responsible clinician envisaged Mr M's eventual progress. This interpretation would be consistent with what the tribunal said later ... In view of Mr M's current status [he had been discharged], I do not have to decide whether those reasons do or do not show that the tribunal misdirected itself. I limit myself to saying that it is risky if reasons can be read in a way that indicates a misdirection. ... Given that Mr M is no longer liable to be detained, I can see no need to venture outside the appropriate role of the Upper Tribunal in mental health cases and state, even in the form of a narrative declaration, that the tribunal should have exercised its power to discharge him. That is why I have exercised my power to refuse to set aside the tribunal's decision regardless of any error of law that it may have made."

McCann v State Hospitals Board for Scotland (2014) CSIH 71

Scottish smoking ban

The smoking ban at Carstairs Hospital, which at first instance had been declared to be unlawful, was decided on appeal to be lawful.

McCann v State Hospitals Board for Scotland (2017) UKSC 31

Scottish smoking ban

"This is a challenge by application for judicial review to the legality of the comprehensive ban on smoking at the State Hospital at Carstairs which the State Hospitals Board for Scotland adopted by a decision taken at a meeting on 25 August 2011 and implemented on 5 December 2011. The appellant, Mr McCann, does not challenge the ban on smoking indoors. His challenge relates only to the ban on smoking in the grounds of the State Hospital and on home visits, which, by creating a comprehensive ban, prevents detained patients from smoking anywhere. ... Mr McCann raises three principal issues in his challenge. First, he argues that the impugned decision is invalid at common law on the ground of ultra vires because, when so deciding, it did not adhere to the principles laid down in section 1 of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 (which I set out in para 22 below) or comply with the requirements of subordinate legislation made under the 2003 Act. Secondly, he submits that the impugned decision was unlawful because it unjustifiably interfered with his private life and thereby infringed his right to respect for his private life under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Thirdly, founding on article 14 of ECHR in combination with article 8, he argues that the Board, by implementing the comprehensive smoking ban, has treated him in a discriminatory manner which cannot be objectively justified when compared with (i) people detained in prison, (ii) patients in other hospitals (whether detained or not) or (iii) members of the public who remain at liberty. ... [T]he prohibition on having tobacco products and the related powers to search and confiscate are in my view illegal and fall to be annulled. ... [B]ut for the illegality under our domestic law of the prohibition of possession of tobacco products, the searches and the confiscation of tobacco products which are part of the impugned decision, I would have held that the decision was not contrary to Mr McCann’s article 8 right to respect for his private life. ... The article 14 challenge ... fails."

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 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 M: AB v HT (2018) EWCOP 2

Declaration of non-marriage in English law

"These complex and difficult proceedings in the Court of Protection concern a 37-year-old woman, hereafter referred to as M, who (as I have found, for reasons set out below) at present lacks capacity by virtue of a combination of psychotic illness and acquired brain injury. The parties to the proceedings are the applicant, M's father, hereafter referred to as AB; her aunt, hereafter referred to as HT; the local authority for the area where HT, and currently M, live, namely the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham; and a man hereafter referred to as MS, with whom M went through a religious ceremony of marriage in 2013. A dispute has arisen concerning a number of issues about her past, present and future which has necessitated a lengthy and unusual fact-finding hearing. This judgment sets out my conclusions on the disputed matters of fact, together with an analysis as to her capacity, and orders made following my findings."

Rotherham Doncaster & South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (18 010 101a) (2019) MHLO 43 (LGSCO)

Failure to carry out carer's assessment

LGSCO's summary of decision: "The Trust and Council were at fault in not carrying out a carer’s assessment and not involving Mrs S during her husband’s period of treatment. There was also fault in record-keeping and delays in responding to the complaint. These failings caused an injustice to Mrs S as she lost the opportunity for additional support and is likely to have suffered additional distress. The Trust and Council have already taken action to address these failings and improve processes. The Trust and Council have agreed to pay Mrs S financial redress and the Trust has agreed to monitor and report on improvements in its complaints handling."

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