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Cases > Subject : Advance decision cases or Inherent jurisdiction cases or Inquests

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Page name Sentence Summary
A City Council v LS (2019) EWHC 1384 (Fam)

Secure accommodation and inherent jurisdiction

"Does the High Court have power under its inherent jurisdiction, upon the application of a local authority, to authorise the placement in secure accommodation of a 17 year old child who is not looked after by that local authority within the meaning of s 22(1) of the Children Act 1989, whose parent objects to that course of action, but who is demonstrably at grave risk of serious, and possibly fatal harm. I am satisfied that the answer is 'no'."

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.

CD v London Borough of Croydon (2019) EWHC 2943 (Fam)

Inherent jurisdiction or s48 interim order

(1) Cobb J discussed the inherent jurisdiction, setting out the following summary: (a) first the inherent jurisdiction may be deployed for the protection of vulnerable adults, (b) secondly in some cases a vulnerable adult may not be incapacitated within the meaning of the 2005 Mental Capacity Act but may nevertheless be protected under the inherent jurisdiction; (c) third that in some of those cases capacitous individuals may be of unsound mind within the meaning of article 5(i)(e) of the European Rights Convention; (d) fourth, in exercising my powers under the inherent jurisdiction I am bound by the European Convention and the case law under the convention and must only impose orders that are necessary and proportionate and at all times have proper regard to the personal autonomy of the individual; and (e) fifth and finally, that in certain circumstances it may be appropriate for a court to take or maintain interim protective measures while carrying out all necessary investigations. (2) In the end he made an interim order under MCA 2005 s48 enabling the Local Authority to gain access to CD's accommodation in order to provide appropriate care and make it safe for human habitation. (3) CD was a vulnerable adult but the order was made under the MCA because the judge was "satisfied that it is more appropriate, where statute provides a route, that the statute is used".

Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust v R (2020) EWCOP 4

Contingent/anticipatory declarations - MCA/inherent jurisdiction - Caesarean section

R had capacity to make decisions as to her ante-natal and obstetric care but there was a risk that she would lose capacity during labour and refuse a Caesarean section. (1) MCA 2005 s16 (Powers to make decisions and appoint deputies: general) applies only to those who currently lack capacity. (2) MCA 2005 s15 (Power to make declarations) is not so limited and so can authorise contingent declarations. (3) Deprivation of liberty cannot be authorised by s15 but the inherent jurisdiction may be utilised to fill that lacuna which would otherwise render the s15 power nugatory.

Hertfordshire CC v K (2020) EWHC 139 (Fam)

Inherent jurisdiction and DOL

"In this matter, the question before the court is whether it should grant a deprivation of liberty order (hereafter a DOL order) under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court in respect of AK, born in 2003 and now aged 16."

Mazhar v Lord Chancellor (2017) EWHC 2536 (Fam)

Inherent jurisdiction

"This is a claim brought under sections 6, 7(1)(a), 8(1) and 9(1)(c) of the Human Rights Act 1998 against the Lord Chancellor in respect of a judicial act. The act in question is an order made by a High Court judge, Mr Justice Mostyn, who was the Family Division out of hours applications judge on the late evening of Friday, 22 April 2016. The order was made on the application of Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. It was an urgent, without notice, out of hours application made in respect of the claimant, Mr Aamir Mazhar. ... Mr Mazhar seeks to argue that the inherent jurisdiction cannot be used to detain a person who is not of unsound mind for the purposes of article 5(1)(e) of the Convention and that a vulnerable person's alleged incapacity as a result of duress or undue influence is not a basis to make orders in that jurisdiction that are other than facilitative of the person recovering, retaining or exercising his capacity. His removal and detention were accordingly unlawful and in breach of article 5. He also seeks to argue that his article 6 rights were engaged such that the absence of any challenge by the judge to his capacity and/or the evidence of the NHS Trust and the absence of any opportunity to challenge those matters himself or though his family or representatives before the order was executed was an unfair process. He says that his article 8 right to respect for family and private life was engaged and that the order was neither necessary nor in accordance with the law. ... The consequence is that I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing in the HRA (taken together with either the CPR or the FPR) that provides a power in a court or tribunal to make a declaration against the Crown in respect of a judicial act. Furthermore, the HRA has not modified the constitutional principle of judicial immunity. Likewise, the Crown is not to be held to vicariously liable for the acts of the judiciary with the consequence that the claim for a declaration is not justiciable in the Courts of England and Wales. A claim for damages against the Crown is available to Mr Mazhar for the limited purpose of compensating him for an article 5(5) breach but the forum for such a claim where the judicial act is that of a judge of the High Court cannot be a court of co-ordinate jurisdiction. On the facts of this case, the only court that can consider a damages claim is the Court of Appeal. If Mr Mazhar wants to pursue his challenge to the order of Mostyn J he must do so on appeal."

NHS Cumbria CCG v Rushton (2018) EWCOP 41

Withdrawal of CANH; advance decision

"This is an application regarding the proposed withdrawal of clinically assisted nutrition and hydration in respect of Mrs Jillian Rushton, who is now 85 years of age. Since sustaining a traumatic head injury in December 2015, Mrs Rushton has suffered from a prolonged period of disorder of consciousness. Insofar as a label is relevant, the consensus of medical opinion, in respect of which there is no dissent at all, is that she is in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). In their recent guidance, ‘Clinically-assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) and adults who lack the capacity to consent’, the Royal College of Physicians and the British Medical Association have noted that the importance of obtaining a precise and definitive diagnosis has reduced. It is recognised by the Courts and clinicians that drawing a firm distinction between vegetative state and minimally conscious state is frequently both artificial and unnecessary. In practice, when assessing best interests, information about the patient’s current condition and prognosis for functional recovery and the level of confidence with which these can be evaluated is invariably of greater importance than a precise diagnosis. ... It perhaps requires to be said, though in my view it should be regarded as axiomatic, that the medical profession must give these advanced decisions the utmost care, attention and scrutiny. I am confident the profession does but I regret to say that I do not think sufficient care and scrutiny took place here. The lesson is an obvious one and needs no amplification. Where advanced decisions have been drawn up and placed with GP records there is an onerous burden on the GP to ensure, wherever possible, that they are made available to clinicians in hospital. By this I mean a copy of the decision should be made available and placed within the hospital records with the objective that the document should follow the patient. It need hardly be said that it will rarely, if ever, be sufficient to summarise an advance decision in a telephone conversation. ... The family have ... made it clear to me that she would not have regarded her present situation as tolerable. Whilst I have no doubt that she would understand the commitment of her son, Tim and his profound resistance to letting her go, I have equally no doubt that she would want to be let go and I have no hesitation in concluding that it is my responsibility to respect this."

R (Lee) v HM Assistant Coroner for Sunderland (2019) EWHC 3227 (Admin)

Article 2 inquests and community patients

The coroner had decided that Article 2 was not engaged in this case, which involved the death of a community patient who was not subject to the MHA. (1) In relation to the operational duty, the coroner's decision had focussed almost exclusively on the question of responsibility rather than the "threefold factors of assumed responsibility, vulnerability and risk" set out in the Rabone case. The matter was remitted to the coroner for reconsideration. (2) The grounds which related to systemic failures were unarguable.

R (Maguire) v HM Senior Coroner for Blackpool and Fylde (2020) EWCA Civ 738

Inquest and DOLS

"The issue for determination in this appeal is whether the circumstances surrounding the death of Jacqueline Maguire (known as Jackie) required the coroner to allow the jury at her inquest to return an expanded conclusion in accordance with section 5(2) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. ... Jackie was subject to a standard authorisation granted by Blackpool Council pursuant to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards set out in Schedule A1 to the Mental Capacity Act 2005. ... Jackie's circumstances were not analogous with a psychiatric patient who is in hospital to guard against the risk of suicide. She was accommodated by United Response to provide a home in which she could be looked after by carers, because she was unable to look after herself and it was not possible for her to live with her family. She was not there for medical treatment. If she needed medical treatment it was sought, in the usual way, from the NHS. Her position would not have been different had she been able to continue to live with her family with social services input and been subject to an authorisation from the Court of Protection in respect of her deprivation of liberty whilst in their care."

R (Maguire) v HM's Senior Coroner for Blackpool and Fylde (2019) EWHC 1232 (Admin)

Inquest and DOLS

"First, the claimant contends that the defendant erred in law by determining at the end of the evidence that article 2 no longer applied under Parkinson, thereby prejudging a matter that should have been left to the jury. Secondly, the Coroner erred in law by determining that the jury should not be directed to consider whether neglect should form part of their conclusion. ... That the case law has extended the positive duty beyond the criminal justice context in Osman is not in doubt. The reach of the duty, beyond what Lord Dyson called the "paradigm example" of detention, is less easy to define. We have reached the conclusion, however, that the touchstone for state responsibility has remained constant: it is whether the circumstances of the case are such as to call a state to account: Rabone, para 19, citing Powell. In the absence of either systemic dysfunction arising from a regulatory failure or a relevant assumption of responsibility in a particular case, the state will not be held accountable under article 2. ... We agree that a person who lacks capacity to make certain decisions about his or her best interests - and who is therefore subject to DOLS under the 2005 Act - does not automatically fall to be treated in the same way as Lord Dyson's paradigm example. In our judgment, each case will turn on its facts. ... [The Coroner] properly directed himself as to the appropriate test to apply to the issue of neglect and having done so declined to leave the issue to the jury."

R (Maughan) v Her Majesty's Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire (2019) EWCA Civ 809

Suicide burden of proof at inquests

"This appeal involves questions of importance concerning the law and practice of coroners' inquests where an issue is raised as to whether the deceased died by suicide. The questions can be formulated as follows: (1) Is the standard of proof to be applied the criminal standard (satisfied so as to be sure) or the civil standard (satisfied that it is more probable than not) in deciding whether the deceased deliberately took his own life intending to kill himself? (2) Does the answer depend on whether the determination is expressed by way of short-form conclusion or by way of narrative conclusion? Those are the questions falling for decision in this case; but to an extent they have also required some consideration of the position with regard to unlawful killing. ... I conclude that, in cases of suicide, the standard of proof to be applied throughout at inquests, and including both short-form conclusions and narrative conclusions, is the civil standard of proof."

R (Silvera) v HM Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire (2017) EWHC 2499 (Admin)

JR of decision not to resume inquest

"In this claim for judicial review Muhammad Silvera challenges the decision of the Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire not to resume the inquest into the death of his mother, Ms Vittoria Baker. It is submitted that the decision of the Senior Coroner not to resume the inquest and thereby to hold a full inquest into this death was unlawful. It is submitted that the Senior Coroner breached the investigative duty under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and was irrational and in breach of the duty at common law to fully investigate this death. ... The Senior Coroner refers in his letter of February 2016 to the 'Crown Court Trial' together with the two reports as being sufficient to satisfy Article 2 of the Convention. There was, in fact, no Crown Court trial. At an early hearing an acceptable plea was tendered and 'K' was made the subject of a hospital order. The two other investigations comprised an internal NHS Trust investigation that was carried out in private and the DHR was expressed to be private and confidential. ... In all the circumstances, this claim for judicial review should be allowed."

Raqeeb v Barts NHS Foundation Trust (2019) EWHC 2531 (Admin)

Withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment - transfer to Italy

This judgment related to: (a) the child's (Tafida's) judicial review of the Trust's decision not to agree to transfer her to an Italian hospital; (b) the Trust's application for a specific issue order under s8 Children Act 1989, and for an inherent jurisdiction declaration, that it was in the child's best interests for life-sustaining treatment to be withdrawn. Both applications were dismissed, with the effect that one of the hospitals had to continue life-sustaining treatment and, there being no justification for interfering with Tafida's right (under Article 56 Treaty for the Functioning of the European Union) to receive treatment in another EU state, it was anticipated that the transfer would take place. The judgment provides guidance on dealing with a request by parents of an EU citizen child for transfer for medical treatment in another Member State.

Re AB (Inherent Jurisdiction: Deprivation of Liberty) (2018) EWHC 3103 (Fam)

Inherent jurisdiction authorises DOL during conditional discharge

AB had capacity to consent to the care, support and accommodation arrangements which were provided as part of his conditional discharge but, following the MM case, there was an unlawful deprivation of liberty. The High Court extended the inherent jurisdiction to regularise the position of a capacitous detained mental health patient subject to restrictions as part of his conditional discharge which satisfied the objective elements of a deprivation of liberty (firstly, it was clear that there was no legislative provision governing this situation in that the Mental Health Act provided no remedy; secondly, it was in the interests of justice; and, thirdly, there were sound and strong public policy justifications). The court order: authorised the deprivation of liberty for 12 months; required the applicant to apply to court if the restrictions increase, and no less than one month before the expiry of the authorisation; and provided for a review on the papers unless a party requests or the court requires an oral hearing.

Re Lee (2019) MHLO 73 (Coroner)

Article 2 inquests and community patients

The coroner, following the Administrative Court decision that she had failed properly to address the Article 2 operational duty as set out in the Rabone case, in this decision sets out reasons for concluding that (a) the operational duty was not neither engaged nor breached.

Rushbrooke v HM Coroner for West London (2020) EWHC 1612 (Admin)

Inquest determination and findings quashed

The applicant, who had been the deceased's Relevant Person's Representative under a DOLS authorisation successfully argued for the inquest's determination and findings to be quashed.

Southend-On-Sea Borough Council v Meyers (2019) EWHC 399 (Fam)

Inherent jurisdiction prevents elderly man from living with son

"The essence of his vulnerability is, in fact, his entirely dysfunctional relationship with his son ... Mr Meyers, I am satisfied, is entirely capable of and has the capacity ... for determining where he wishes to reside and with whom. ... I instinctively recoil from intervening in the decision making of a capacitious adult ... Here Mr Meyers' life requires to be protected and I consider that, ultimately, the State has an obligation to do so. Additionally, it is important to recognise that the treatment of Mr Meyers has not merely been neglectful but abusive and corrosive of his dignity. To the extent that the Court's decision encroaches on Mr Meyers' personal autonomy it is, I believe, a justified and proportionate intervention. The preservation of a human life will always weigh heavily when evaluating issues of this kind. ... The objective here ... is that Mr Meyers be prevented from living with his son, either in the bungalow or in alternative accommodation. I do not compel him to reside in any other place or otherwise limit with whom he should live. ... The impact of the Court's intervention is to limit Mr Meyers's accommodation options but it does not deprive of his physical liberty which is the essence of the right guaranteed by Article 5. ... It is also necessary to restrict the extent of Mr Meyers's contact with his son in order to keep him safe. ... To the extent that this interferes with his Article 8 rights it is, again as I have indicated above, a necessary and proportionate intervention. ... The ideal solution here, it seems to me, would be for Mr Meyers to return to his bungalow with a suitable package of support, his son having been excluded from the property."

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