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Cases > Subject: Upper Tribunal decisions

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Page name Sentence Summary
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.
Djaba v West London Mental Health NHS Trust (2017) EWCA Civ 436 ECHR and tribunal criteria "[T]he appeal is concerned with the narrow issue whether the statutory tests within ss. 72, 73 and 145 of the Mental Health Act 1983 require a 'proportionality assessment' to be conducted, pursuant to articles 5 and/or 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Human Rights Act 1998, taking into account the conditions of the appellant's detention. ... The position established by these cases is that, where the question whether the detention complies with the European Convention on Human Rights is not expressly within the powers of the tribunals but can be heard in other proceedings, section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998 does not require the powers of the tribunals to be interpreted by reference to the Convention to give them the powers to consider Convention-compliance as well. The same principle applies here too. In this case, the appellant must apply for judicial review to the Administrative Court if he considers that the conditions of his detention are disproportionate and do not comply with the Convention. That Court is able to carry out a sufficient review on the merits to meet the requirements of the Convention."
Djaba v West London Mental Health NHS Trust (2018) MHLO 76 (SC) ECHR and tribunal criteria On 15/3/18 the Supreme Court (Lady Hale, Lord Hodge, Lord Lloyd-Jones) refused Jasmin Djaba permission to appeal, giving brief reasons.
DL-H v West London MH NHS Trust (2017) UKUT 387 (AAC) Religious beliefs and tribunal expertise Judicial summary from Gov.uk website: (1) "In deciding whether a patient is manifesting religious beliefs or mental disorder, a tribunal is entitled to take account of evidence from both religious and medical experts." (2) "A tribunal is entitled to use its own expertise to make a different diagnosis from those of the medical witnesses, provided it allows the parties a chance to make submissions and explains its decision."
JD v West London Mental Health NHS Trust (2016) UKUT 496 (AAC) ECHR and tribunal criteria "The patient in this case is held in conditions of exclusion and restraint that are exceptional and perhaps unique. He occupies a ‘super seclusion suite’ consisting of a room with a partition that can divide it into two. No one is allowed to enter without the partition in place, except nursing staff wearing personal protective equipment in order to administer his depot injections. He is only allowed out of the suite in physical restraints that restrict his circulation and under escort by a number of members of staff. ... The Secretary of State referred the patient’s case to the First-tier Tribunal on 28 July 2015. The hearing took place on 19 and 20 November 2015; the tribunal’s reasons are dated 23 November 2015. ... What the tribunal did not do was to deal expressly with the human rights argument put by Ms Bretherton on the patient’s behalf. On 7 January 2016, the tribunal gave permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal identifying as the issue: 'to what extent should the circumstances of the patient’s detention, and any possible breach of the European Convention as a result thereof, have any bearing on the First-tier Tribunal’s exercise of considering sections 72 and 73? Following from that, if the Tribunal is satisfied that the circumstances of a patient’s detention are a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, how should that be reflected in the decisions that the First-tier Tribunal can lawfully make?'"
JMcG v Devon Partnership NHS Trust (2017) UKUT 348 (AAC), (2017) MHLO 28 Deferred discharge beyond current authority for detention "The principal issue in this appeal is whether the First-tier Tribunal (Mental Health) erred in law in its belief that, pursuant to s.72(3) of the Mental Health Act 1983, it could not defer the discharge of a detained patient beyond the date of the order authorising detention. The Appellant patient criticised the tribunal for (a) refusing to defer his discharge until a date after the authority for his detention had expired and (b) failing to give adequate reasons for its decision overall. I have concluded that the tribunal did not err in law with respect to the effect of section 72(3) since its reasons did not assert that a deferred discharge could not exceed the date of the order authorising detention. Though strictly obiter, I have concluded that a deferred discharge cannot exceed the date of the order authorising detention and explain why I have reached that view below. I also concluded that the tribunal’s reasoning in this case was adequate."
JS v SLAM NHS Foundation Trust (2019) UKUT 172 (AAC) Reinstatement (1) Reinstatement: "As there is no right to reinstatement, the tribunal has a discretion whether or not to reinstate the party’s ‘case’. It must, like all discretions, be exercised judicially and that involves complying with the overriding objective of the tribunal’s rules of procedure, which is ‘to enable the Tribunal to deal with cases fairly and justly’ (rule 2(1)). ... Considered methodically, the factors that the tribunal should take into account neatly divide into three. First, the tribunal should consider whether there is anything to undermine either the patient’s application to withdraw or the tribunal’s consent. Just to give some examples, the application may have been based on a misunderstanding of the facts or the law. Or there may be an issue whether the patient had capacity or gave informed consent. Or the tribunal’s reasons for consenting may have been defective. Second, there may have been a change of circumstances that makes it appropriate to agree to reinstatement. Third, the tribunal will have to consider any other factors that may be relevant under the overriding objective. These will include: (a) the reasons given in support of the application, whatever they may be; (b) any prejudice to the patient in refusing consent; (c) any detriment to the other parties if consent is given; (d) any prejudice to other patients if consent is given; and (d) any impact that reinstatement might have on the operation of the tribunal’s mental health jurisdiction system as a whole." (2) Respondent status: "[T]he Trust was properly named as a respondent on the appeal to the Upper Tribunal ... The Trust was the responsible authority and, as such, a party to the proceedings in the First-tier Tribunal ... On appeal by the patient to the Upper Tribunal, everyone else who was a party before the First-tier Tribunal became a respondent ... That is standard procedure in appeal generally. The Trust’s letter shows a confusion between an appeal and a judicial review. In the latter, the tribunal is the respondent, and others may be interested parties."
LW v Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust (2018) UKUT 408 (AAC) Meaning of "nature" in discharge criteria (1) Having considered the statutory framework of CTOs and the legislative purposes behind them the UT concluded, primarily on that basis, that in cases where there is a risk of a relapse which might necessitate recall, how soon that such a relapse is likely to occur is a relevant consideration. However, other factors, including the risk to the patient and/or others if a relapse were to occur, may also be relevant, and there is no requirement for likely relapse to be "soon", "in the near future" or within the permitted duration of a CTO. (2) Addressing the claimants' arguments on the analogy between detention and CTO cases, the judge stated that while there are some parallels between the s3 regime and CTOs they are not such that the same principles necessarily apply to both, and (to the extent necessary to reach a view on the detention cases) neither of the previous judgments cited in CM v Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust [2011] UKUT 129 (AAC) provided an authoritative basis for the view that imminence of relapse is the only factor or need be in the near future.
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."
PAA v SSHD (2019) UKUT 13 (IAC) Oral tribunal decision The UT's summary of this judgment is as follows: "(1) In accordance with rule 29(1) the First-tier Tribunal may give a decision orally at a hearing. (2) If it does so, that is the decision on the appeal, and the effect of Patel v SSHD [2015] EWCA Civ 1175! is that there is no power to revise or revoke the decision later. The requirement to give written reasons does not mean that reasons are required in order to perfect the decision. (3) If the written decision, when issued, is inconsistent with the oral decision, both decisions, being decisions of the Tribunal, stand until set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction; but neither party is entitled to enforce either decision until the matter has been sorted out on appeal. (4) In such a case, as in any other, time for appealing against the decision given at the hearing runs, under rule 33 (2) and (3), from the date of provision of the written reasons, however inappropriate the reasons may appear to be, subject to any successful application for extension of time." Rule 41(1) of the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber) Rules 2008 is the same as rule 29(1) of the immigration and asylum rules cited above.
RM v St Andrew's Healthcare (2010) UKUT 119 (AAC) Non-disclosure of covert medication (1) When considering the "interests of justice" limb of rule 14(2), the key test to be applied is whether or not non-disclosure of the document or information would allow the patient to make an effective challenge to his detention. (2) On the facts, without knowing that he was being covertly medicated the patient would be unable effectively to challenge his detention; the non-disclosure decision was set aside and re-made. (3) Non-disclosure orders should not only be drafted in terms of documents, but also should deal, in a precise, clear and exhaustive way, with the information which should not be disclosed.
VS v St Andrew's Healthcare (2018) UKUT 250 (AAC) Capacity to make tribunal application (1) The capacity that a patient must have in order to make a valid MHT application is that the patient must understand that he is being detained against his wishes and that the First-tier Tribunal is a body that will be able to decide whether he should be released. This is a lower threshold than the capacity to conduct proceedings. (2) (Obiter) a solicitor appointed under rule 11(7)(b) can request to withdraw an application in the best interests of the patient, but on the facts the tribunal had been entitled to give effect to the patient's own desire to come before a tribunal. (3) When a tribunal lacks jurisdiction it should strike out the proceedings but (obiter) if the proceedings were fair then the use of withdrawal rather than strike out is unlikely to be a material error of law.

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