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  • 02/02/16 (1): Legal Aid/freezing order case. Lord Chancellor v John Blavo (2016) EWHC 126 (QB), (2016) MHLO 6There 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 Offce 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...")
  • 31/01/16 (1): Deprivation of liberty case. Birmingham City Council v D (2016) EWCOP 8, (2016) MHLO 5(1) A parent cannot consent to the confinement (i.e. the objective element of Article 5 deprivation of liberty) of a child who has attained the age of 16. (2) The confinement was imputable to the state despite the accommodation being provided under s20 Children Act 1989, as the local authority had taken a central role; in any event, even if D's confinement were a purely private affair the state would have a positive obligation under Article 5(1) to protect him. (3) The judge did not resile from his previous judgment that D's parents could consent to his confinement in hospital when he was under 16.
  • 30/01/16 (2): MHLA: Panel course - London, 14/3/16 and 15/3/16 — The Mental Health Lawyers Association are running their Panel Course on Monday 14/3/16 and Tuesday 15/3/16 in London. The MHLA is an approved provider of the two-day course which must be attended by prospective members of the Law Society’s mental health accreditation scheme. Price: £300 (MHLA members); £390 (non-members); £270 (group discount). CPD: 12 hours. See MHLA website for further details and to book online.
  • 30/01/16 (1): MHLA: Panel course - Leeds, 2/3/16 and 3/3/16. — The Mental Health Lawyers Association are running their Panel Course on Wednesday 2/3/16 and Thursday 3/3/16 in Leeds. The MHLA is an approved provider of the two-day course which must be attended by prospective members of the Law Society’s mental health accreditation scheme. Price: £300 (MHLA members); £390 (non-members); £270 (group discount). CPD: 12 hours. See MHLA website for further details and to book online.
  • 28/01/16 (1): Legal Aid case. R (Sisangia) v Director of Legal Aid Casework (2016) EWCA Civ 24, (2016) MHLO 4This was a claim for false imprisonment and assault arising out of arrest and detention by the police. Paragraph 21 of Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 relates to Legal Aid for civil legal services under the heading "Abuse of position or powers by public authority". Following an initial refusal of Legal Aid, this case concerned the interpretation of sub-paragraph (4): "For the purposes of this paragraph, an act or omission by a public authority does not constitute an abuse of its position or powers unless the act or omission (a) is deliberate or dishonest, and (b) results in harm to a person or property that was reasonably foreseeable." The High Court had held that (a) paragraph 21(4) was a comprehensive definition of what was entailed in a claim for abuse of position or power (rather than a statement of the minimum criteria for such a claim), and (b) for the purposes of the definition in this case it was only the arrest itself that had to be deliberate (it was not necessary to allege that the arresting officers knew that they had no power of arrest). The Court of Appeal, allowing the appeal, held that: (a) the judge, in interpreting the words so that that any deliberate act by a public authority that causes reasonably foreseeable harm to another would count as an abuse of power, had ignored what it was that was being defined ("abuse of position or power") and gave no weight at all to the meaning of that phrase: abuse of position or power is a recognised juridical concept which, like many other public law concepts, is both flexible and context-specific and should, therefore, be given meaning in paragraph 21(4); (b) something more than an intentional tort (requiring only a deliberate act, such as, here, false imprisonment) is necessary before the impugned act becomes an "abuse of power": in this case it was not merely the fact of arrest, but the arrest without lawful justification, which had to be deliberate or dishonest. The Court of Appeal noted that a general policy not to fund purely money claims is what explains the anomaly that a claimant able to bring judicial review proceedings under paragraph 19 may add a claim for damages without having to satisfy any equivalent of paragraph 21(4). (There is also no equivalent in paragraph 20, for habeas corpus, or in paragraph 22, for significant breach of Convention rights.)
  • 27/01/16 (11): Conditional discharge/DOLS case. MM v WL Clinic (2016) UKUT 37 (AAC), (2016) MHLO 3Charles J refused permission to appeal his earlier decision (the main point of which was that, for the purposes of Article 5, a restricted patient with the capacity to do so can give a valid and effective consent to conditions of a conditional discharge that when implemented will, on an objective assessment, create a deprivation of liberty). The Secretary of State can seek permission from the Court of Appeal.
  • 27/01/16 (10): Anonymity case. R (C) v SSJ (2016) UKSC 2, (2016) MHLO 2(1) There is no presumption of anonymity in proceedings which are about the compulsory powers of detention, care and treatment under the 1983 Act: in each case the judge must decide whether or not anonymity is necessary in the interests of the patient. (2) On the facts, an anonymity order was necessary in the interests of this particular patient. Extracts from judgment: "The first issue before us is whether there should be a presumption of anonymity in civil proceedings, or certain kinds of civil proceedings, in the High Court relating to a patient detained in a psychiatric hospital, or otherwise subject to compulsory powers, under the Mental Health Act 1983 (“the 1983 Act”). The second issue is whether there should be an anonymity order on the facts of this particular case. ... The question in all these cases is that set out in CPR 39.2(4): is anonymity necessary in the interests of the patient? It would be wrong to have a presumption that an order should be made in every case. There is a balance to be struck. The public has a right to know, not only what is going on in our courts, but also who the principal actors are. This is particularly so where notorious criminals are involved. They need to be reassured that sensible decisions are being made about them. On the other hand, the purpose of detention in hospital for treatment is to make the patient better, so that he is no longer a risk either to himself or to others. That whole therapeutic enterprise may be put in jeopardy if confidential information is disclosed in a way which enables the public to identify the patient. It may also be put in jeopardy unless patients have a reasonable expectation in advance that their identities will not be disclosed without their consent. In some cases, that disclosure may put the patient himself, and perhaps also the hospital, those treating him and the other patients there, at risk. The public’s right to know has to be balanced against the potential harm, not only to this patient, but to all the others whose treatment could be affected by the risk of exposure. ... I conclude that an anonymity order is necessary in the interests of this particular patient. His regime before he left hospital, involving escorted leave in the community, demonstrated the need for anonymity and the case is even stronger now (as foreseen in R (M) v Parole Board). Without it there is a very real risk that the progress he has made during his long years of treatment in hospital will be put in jeopardy and his re-integration in the community, which was an important purpose of his transfer to hospital, will not succeed. I would therefore allow this appeal and maintain the anonymity order in place."
  • 27/01/16 (9): PELT: Deprivation of Liberty made simple - Hoylake, 7/6/16. — Peter Edwards Law Training are running a course entitled "Deprivation of Liberty made simple - including MHA or MCA?" on Tuesday 7/6/16 in Hoylake. Cost: £125 plus VAT. See Peter Edwards Law website for further details and booking information.
  • 27/01/16 (8): PELT: Introduction to Forensic Patients - Hoylake, 2/6/16. — Peter Edwards Law Training are running a course entitled "Introduction to Forensic Patients - A journey through the system" on Thursday 2/6/16 in Hoylake. Cost: £125 plus VAT. See Peter Edwards Law website for further details and booking information.
  • 27/01/16 (7): PELT: Mental Health Act Masterclass - Hoylake, 17/5/16. — Peter Edwards Law Training are running a course entitled "Masterclass - Mental Health Act - Legal Update" on Tuesday 17/5/16 in Hoylake. Cost: £125 plus VAT. See Peter Edwards Law website for further details and booking information.
  • 27/01/16 (6): PELT: Introduction to Care Act for those working with MHA or MCA - Hoylake, 26/4/16. — Peter Edwards Law Training are running a course entitled "Introduction - Care Act for those working with MHA or MCA" on Tuesday 26/4/16 in Hoylake. Cost: £125 plus VAT. See Peter Edwards Law website for further details and booking information.
  • 27/01/16 (5): PELT: Court of Protection Masterclass - Hoylake, 19/4/16. — Peter Edwards Law Training are running a course entitled "Masterclass - Court of Protection Legal Update" on Tuesday 19/4/16 in Hoylake. Cost: £125 plus VAT. See Peter Edwards Law website for further details and booking information.
  • 27/01/16 (4): PELT: Depriving Children and Young People of their liberty lawfully - Hoylake, 14/4/16. — Peter Edwards Law Training are running a course entitled "Depriving Children and Young People of their liberty lawfully" on Thursday 14/4/16 in Hoylake. Cost: £125 plus VAT. See Peter Edwards Law website for further details and booking information.
  • 27/01/16 (3): PELT: Introduction to MCA and DOLS - Hoylake, 5/4/16. — Peter Edwards Law Training are running a course entitled "Introduction - MCA and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards" on Tuesday 5/4/16 in Hoylake. Cost: £125 plus VAT. See Peter Edwards Law website for further details and booking information.
  • 27/01/16 (2): PELT: Introduction to the Mental Health Act - Hoylake, 29/3/16. — Peter Edwards Law Training are running a course entitled "Introduction to the Mental Health Act" on Tuesday 29/3/16 in Hoylake. Cost: £125 plus VAT. See Peter Edwards Law website for further details and booking information.
  • 27/01/16 (1): PELT: Introduction to using Court of Protection - Hoylake, 11/3/16. — Peter Edwards Law Training are running a course entitled "Introduction to using Court of Protection including s. 21A Appeals" on Friday 11/3/16 in Hoylake. Cost: £125 plus VAT. See Peter Edwards Law website for further details and booking information.
  • 22/01/16 (2): Office of the Public Guardian, 'Local authority deputyship responsibilities' (Practice Note no 01/2016, 14/1/16). Summary from Government website: "The practice note explains the Office of the Public Guardian’s (OPG) guidance on local authority deputyship responsibilities, including important information for authorities considering entering into a contractual agreement with an external provider." See Office of the Public Guardian
  • 22/01/16 (1): British Psychological Society: Beyond Psychiatric Diagnosis - London, 22/6/16 — The BPS are running a free event aimed at solicitors, barristers, judges and politicians, entitled "Beyond Psychiatric Diagnosis: Legal, Scientific, Humanitarian and Practical Implications", on Wednesday 22/6/16 in London. Speakers will inlude: Prof. Peter Kinderman, Prof. Mary Boyle, Jacqui Dillon, Dr Joanna Moncrieff. For further details and booking information see the BPS website.
  • 17/01/16 (1): Inquest case. R (Speck) v HM Coroner for District of York (2016) EWHC 6 (Admin), (2016) MHLO 1 — "Drawing these strands together, my conclusions were as follows. First, that the duty of the coroner was limited to a duty to investigate those matters which caused, or at least arguably appeared to him to have caused or contributed to, the death. Secondly, that the claimant was unable to show even an arguable case that any body was at the material time under a duty, statutory or otherwise, to establish a health-based place of safety at a time, and in a location, such that Miss Speck could have been taken to such a facility in June 2011. Thirdly, that the claimant was therefore unable to show even an arguable case that Miss Speck's death was caused or contributed to by a breach of such a duty. Fourthly, that the coroner was therefore correct to decline to investigate issues as to the non-availability of a health-based place of safety: to have done so would have been to investigate matters which fell outside his statutory duty under section 5 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. Lastly, that even if I had been persuaded that it was within the coroner's discretion to investigate such matters, I would have found there was no basis on which it could be said that his decision not to do so was a perverse or otherwise unlawful exercise of that discretion."
  • 12/01/16 (1): Neutral citation number and parties' names added to UT case. WH v Partnerships in Care (2015) UKUT 695 (AAC), (2015) MHLO 132The tribunal, having decided that the appropriate treatment test in s72(1)(b)(iia) was met, refused to discharge a patient who had a diagnosis of dissocial personality disorder. (1) The Upper Tribunal allowed the appeal on the following grounds: (a) The appropriate treatment test relates only to the treatment that a patient is receiving at the detaining hospital, so the tribunal erred in law by considering the test met because treatment was available elsewhere. (b) The tribunal also erred in law by providing inadequate reasons: (i) the reasons were not set out by reference to the relevant criteria; (ii) the tribunal failed to address any of the solicitor's submissions about appropriate treatment; (iii) it was unclear what evidence was accepted or rejected, and why; (iv) the tribunal made findings which were wholly unsupported by the evidence. (2) The Upper Tribunal also stated that: (a) The tribunal is required to evaluate the evidence and reach its own conclusions, so was not obliged to accept the RC's opinion that no appropriate treatment was available; (b) Looking at the evidence as a whole, it was not necessarily the case that there was no evidence of appropriate treatment being provided to the patient; (c) It would be desirable for the MHRT for Wales to adopt the English Practice Direction on Reports, as the Welsh Rules provided little useful guidance, and full reports would have assisted in this difficult case; (d) The patient was currently detained in England so the Welsh tribunal was invited to transfer the case to England.
  • 07/01/16 (1): December 2015 update. A thematic summary of all updates from December 2015 is available on the December 2015 update page.
  • 06/01/16 (1): ESRC: Building the Care Act - Keele, 22/1/16. — This is the first of three ESRC-funded "Safeguarding Adults and Legal Literacy" (SALLY) seminars investigating the impact of the Care Act. Entitled "Building the Care Act: evidence-based policy or policy-based evidence?", it provides an opportunity to reflect on law-making contributions of researchers, civil society organisations, pressure and advocacy groups, statutory health and welfare agencies and judicial decision-makers. The seminar runs from 10am to 4pm, and is free to attend. For further details and booking information, see their website and flyer.
  • 03/01/16 (3): Upper Tribunal case. Case HMW/1678/2015 (2015) MHLO 132 (UT)The tribunal, having decided that the appropriate treatment test in s72(1)(b)(iia) was met, refused to discharge a patient who had a diagnosis of dissocial personality disorder. (1) The Upper Tribunal allowed the appeal on the following grounds: (a) The appropriate treatment test relates only to the treatment that a patient is receiving at the detaining hospital, so the tribunal erred in law by considering the test met because treatment was available elsewhere. (b) The tribunal also erred in law by providing inadequate reasons: (i) the reasons were not set out by reference to the relevant criteria; (ii) the tribunal failed to address any of the solicitor's submissions about appropriate treatment; (iii) it was unclear what evidence was accepted or rejected, and why; (iv) the tribunal made findings which were wholly unsupported by the evidence. (2) The Upper Tribunal also stated that: (a) The tribunal is required to evaluate the evidence and reach its own conclusions, so was not obliged to accept the RC's opinion that no appropriate treatment was available; (b) Looking at the evidence as a whole, it was not necessarily the case that there was no evidence of appropriate treatment being provided to the patient; (c) It would be desirable for the MHRT for Wales to adopt the English Practice Direction on Reports, as the Welsh Rules provided little useful guidance, and full reports would have assisted in this difficult case; (d) The patient was currently detained in England so the Welsh tribunal was invited to transfer the case to England.
  • 03/01/16 (2): New book. Alex Ruck Keene (ed), Assessment of Mental Capacity (4th edn, Law Society 2015. See Books#Mental Capacity Act
  • 03/01/16 (1): CLT: Court of Protection training for paralegals — CLT Paralegal have launched an online practical distance learning programme, written by Caroline Bielanska, designed to minimise risk and increase productivity for non-qualified staff working in Court of Protection. The programme focuses on marketing and practice opportunities, and includes sample forms and a case law update, to equip legal support professionals with the skills to tackle their work with confidence. The up to date course is all-inclusive – there are no additional materials to be purchased, and the course textbook provides all training and acts as an ongoing resource. The flexible training aims to increase client engagement levels and enhance support staff knowledge and competency with no interruption to business as usual. The course as standard costs £995 + VAT. Readers of Mental Health Law Online are entitled to a reduced rate of £695 + VAT. For more information, visit the CLT website or refer to the course flyer.
  • 22/12/15 (13): COP costs case. Somerset v MK (2015) EWCOP B1, (2015) MHLO 131 — "In the light of all of this it seems to me that this is plainly a case where the usual order for costs should be departed from to the extent that the Local Authority should pay the costs of all of the other parties involved. The other matter that I should deal with is whether those payments should be on an indemnity basis. ... I am very conscious of the impact of such an order. However, in that same case of G v E (2010) EWHC 3385 (Fam) Mr Justice Baker considered that the local authority's conduct amounted to 'a significant degree of unreasonableness' giving rise to a liability for costs on an indemnity basis. If one reads my judgment in full it is clear that that there was in this case as well a significant degree of unreasonableness both in the Local Authority's approach to the substantive and procedural issues in the case. In those circumstances it seems to me that the argument for indemnity costs is an overwhelming one in this case and that is the order that I intend to make here."
  • 22/12/15 (12): Best interests/DOL case. Somerset v MK (2014) EWCOP B25, (2014) MHLO 146 — "What I intend to do in it is to set out the history of the case and then of the litigation. Then I will deal with the factual issues upon which I have been asked by the local authority to make findings. I will then deal with the central issue in the case, that of where in her best interests should (P), the subject of this application, live. Next I will consider the conduct of the local authority and make findings on the issues as to whether P had been wrongly deprived of her liberty and, if she had, how long did that go on for; and finally what, if any, lessons can be learned from this case. ... These findings illustrate a blatant disregard of the process of the MCA and a failure to respect the rights of both P and her family under the ECHR. In fact it seems to me that it is worse than that, because here the workers on the ground did not just disregard the process of the MCA they did not know what the process was and no one higher up the structure seems to have advised them correctly about it."
  • 22/12/15 (11): LPA case. Re CMW: Public Guardian v AM (2015) EWCOP 86, (2015) MHLO 130 — "This is an application by the Public Guardian to revoke a Lasting Power of Attorney ('LPA') for property and affairs. ... I am satisfied that Carla lacks capacity to revoke the LPA herself. ... I am also satisfied that the respondent has behaved in a way that contravenes his authority and is not in the donor's best interests. He has broken virtually every rule in the book and, having exhausted his mother's funds in order to meet his "life's requirements at that time", he blithely expects the taxpayers of Surrey to pick up the tab to meet his mother's care needs now. I have no hesitation in revoking the LPA and directing the Public Guardian to cancel its registration. I shall make a separate order appointing Michael Stirton as Carla's deputy for property and affairs."
  • 22/12/15 (10): EPA case. Re WP (deceased) and EP (2015) EWCOP 84, (2015) MHLO 129 — "This is an application by two attorneys acting jointly under two separate Enduring Powers of Attorney for the retrospective approval of monthly payments of £150 each that they have made to themselves and to their sister from the donors' funds. ... This application is a composite claim for the payment of an allowance of £150 per month to each attorney in respect of three distinct heads of claim, and I shall deal with these heads of claim in the following order: (1) travelling expenses; (2) remuneration for acting as attorneys; and (3) a 'gratuitous' care allowance. I would prefer not to be cornered into approving any particular mileage rate. If the Public Guardian wishes to give guidance on such matters, that's up to him. What I shall say is simply by way of general observation. ... In my judgment, the business mileage rates quoted by HMRC [45 pence for every business mile for the first 10,000 miles and 25 pence for every business mile thereafter] should be substantially discounted to reflect the fact that these are not 'business' rates but domestic rates. When dealing with the affairs of an elderly and incapacitated relative, attorneys are generally expected to act out of common decency and not to profit from their position. ... I do not propose to allow them any specific remuneration for the actual management of their parents' property and financial affairs. ... I am satisfied in Theresa's case that the care support she provides and the travelling expenses she incurs merit the payment of a sum of £150 a month from her parents' funds. Stephen does slightly less than his sister Theresa in terms of care support, but has to travel a greater distance to perform these functions and, on balance, I am satisfied that he too should continue to pay himself a composite allowance of £150 a month in respect of travelling expenses and care support."
  • 22/12/15 (9): Reporting restrictions order case. V v Associated Newspapers Ltd (2015) EWCOP 88, (2015) MHLO 128 — "I do not propose to say very much in this judgment. The reason I do not propose to say very much is that I am pleased to report that the media respondents have indicated to me that they would wish to put in some further evidence relating to the public interest in identifying C. They would also wish to (and I can understand why they would wish to) put in evidence relating to criticism of an approach by a journalist employed by one of them. Additionally and, to my mind, importantly, they also wish to take the opportunity, if so advised, to put in evidence and/or representations on more general points concerning the mechanics and principles that arise in respect of Court of Protection proceedings that the court directs are to be heard in public and in respect of which the court makes some form of reporting restriction order or anonymity order. ... In those circumstances, it seems to me that it is inevitably appropriate to continue the injunction until 4.30 on the day I hand down judgment. The indication from the Bar is that there will be no need for further oral submissions."
  • 22/12/15 (8): Reporting restrictions order case. V v Associated Newspapers Ltd (2015) EWCOP 83, (2015) MHLO 127 — "MacDonald J ... concluded C did have capacity to refuse the treatment and dismissed the application by the Hospital Trust. C, sadly, died on 28 November 2015. ... I was notified at about 5.45 pm on 2 December 2015 that an application was likely to be made by Mr Vikram Sachdeva Q.C. on behalf of C's daughter, V, for the RRO to be extended after C's death. ... There is no issue between the parties that the court has jurisdiction to extend a RRO in these circumstances. ... I concluded the RRO should be extended for 7 days to enable an effective inter partes hearing to take place."
  • 22/12/15 (7): Deputyship case. Re JW (2015) EWCOP 82, (2015) MHLO 126 — "This began as an application by a family member to be appointed as a joint deputy for property and affairs with the existing deputy, East Sussex County Council. When it became apparent that the Council was unwilling to act jointly with him, the applicant revised his application and asked the court to remove the Council as deputy and to appoint him in its place. ... I propose to allow Geoffrey's revised application and shall appoint him as Joan's deputy in place of East Sussex County Council. My main reason for appointing him is that I think it would be sensible to repair and renovate the house in Hailsham that Joan inherited from her daughter Daphne so that it can be sold to best advantage, and I am prepared to give it a try. ... Zena Boniface concluded her witness statement by saying that: 'ESCC feel that it would be a conflict of interest for Geoffrey to be appointed deputy, as he stands to make a financial gain from the cost of the building works to his late sister's property and the reimbursement of his time and travel costs in dealing with her estate.' It was entirely reasonable of her to voice this concern and it merits a detailed response. ... I propose to control the conflict between Geoffrey's interests and Joan's by providing the following appropriate and effective safeguards to prevent abuse: ..."
  • 22/12/15 (6): Medical case. King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust v C (2015) EWCOP 80, (2015) MHLO 125 — "The question in this difficult and finely balanced case is whether C has the capacity to decide whether or not to consent to the life saving treatment that her doctors wish to give her following her attempted suicide, namely renal dialysis. Without such treatment the almost inevitable outcome will be the death of C. If the treatment is administered the likelihood is that it will save C's life, albeit that there remains an appreciable and increasing possibility that C will be left requiring dialysis for the rest of her life. C now refuses to consent to dialysis and much of the treatment associated with it. ... For the reasons set out above I am not satisfied on the evidence before the court that the Trust has established on the balance of probabilities that C lacks capacity to decide whether or not to accept treatment by way of dialysis. ... [A] capacitous individual is entitled to decide whether or not to accept treatment from his or her doctor. The right to refuse treatment extends to declining treatment that would, if administered, save the life of the patient and, accordingly, a capacitous patient may refuse treatment even in circumstances where that refusal will lead to his or her death. The decision C has reached to refuse dialysis can be characterised as an unwise one. That C considers that the prospect of growing old, the fear of living with fewer material possessions and the fear that she has lost, and will not regain, 'her sparkle' outweighs a prognosis that signals continued life will alarm and possibly horrify many, although I am satisfied that the ongoing discomfort of treatment, the fear of chronic illness and the fear of lifelong treatment and lifelong disability are factors that also weigh heavily in the balance for C. C's decision is certainly one that does not accord with the expectations of many in society. Indeed, others in society may consider C's decision to be unreasonable, illogical or even immoral within the context of the sanctity accorded to life by society in general. None of this however is evidence of a lack of capacity. The court being satisfied that, in accordance with the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, C has capacity to decide whether or not to accept treatment C is entitled to make her own decision on that question based on the things that are important to her, in keeping with her own personality and system of values and without conforming to society's expectation of what constitutes the 'normal' decision in this situation (if such a thing exists). As a capacitous individual C is, in respect of her own body and mind, sovereign."
  • 22/12/15 (5): Deputyship case. Re AS (2015) EWCOP 79, (2015) MHLO 124 — "This is YB's application to be appointed as AS's deputy for property and affairs in place of the existing deputy, the London Borough of Islington. ... I have decided to maintain the status quo and to dismiss this application."
  • 22/12/15 (4): Best interests case. Re AG (2015) EWCOP 78, (2015) MHLO 123 — "This is an appeal from an order of His Honour Judge Rogers, sitting as a nominated judge of the Court of Protection. Judge Rogers was considering the appropriate welfare arrangements for AG, a young woman born in October 1985. ... DG's grounds of appeal dated 22 September 2013 identify four grounds of appeal. It is said that Judge Rogers: (a) erred in not conducting an adequate assessment of AG's capacity; (b) failed to make findings of fact in relation to the events in 2011 that had triggered the proceedings; (c) made a decision as to where AG should live which by September 2013 was a fait accompli; and (d) acted in breach of Article 8 in directing that DG's contact with AG should be, as it is put, 'heavily' supervised. It is apparent from her counsel's very helpful skeleton arguments ... that the major thrust of DG's case relates to ground (b). ... For these reasons each of DG's grounds of appeal fails. ... Ms Khalique submits, and I am inclined to agree, that the local authority acted unlawfully in removing AG from OG in November 2011 and placing her at HH without having first obtained judicial sanction. Local authorities must seek and obtain appropriate judicial authority before moving an incapacitous adult from their home into other accommodation. Local authorities do not themselves have power to do this. Local authorities also need to appreciate and take appropriate steps to minimise the understandable distress and anger caused to someone in DG's position when initial relief is obtained from the court on the basis of allegations which are not thereafter pursued."
  • 22/12/15 (3): Gratuitous care allowance review case. Re HNL: ATL v Public Guardian (2015) EWCOP 77, (2015) MHLO 122 — "This is an application regarding the payment of a gratuitous care allowance. To describe the allowance as 'gratuitous' is slightly incongruous, as it is a payment towards the cost of maintenance of a close relative, who provides care and case management services to someone who is severely incapacitated because of an impairment of, or a disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain. ... The Public Guardian is currently reviewing all gratuitous care allowances paid by deputies to family members, particularly in cases where the person to whom the proceedings relate has been awarded damages for clinical negligence or personal injury. Because the number of families who are receiving allowances of this kind and are affected by the Public Guardian's review runs into thousands, I have concluded that it would be in the public interest to publish this judgment. ... Having regard to all the circumstances, therefore, I am satisfied that it is in Helen's best interests for Adrian to continue to provide care and case management services to her and that until further order he should be paid an allowance of £23,000 a year, tax-free in accordance with ESM4016. Even though Adrian has not specifically requested it, I propose to give him the option of index-linking future payments of the allowance. ... I understand that the Public Guardian will shortly be issuing a practice note on gratuitous care payments. ... In our initial discussions, the OPG suggested that these payments should be reviewed regularly. However, a review process of this kind is not cheap and, inevitably, it will have a knock-on effect on the amounts sought by claimants in respect of Court of Protection costs in future claims for damages for personal injury and clinical negligence. ... In Helen's case, because of the wide gulf between the commercial value of the services Adrian is providing and the actual payment he is receiving, I consider that it would be disproportionate to go through this process too frequently, and I suggest that Adrian's gratuitous care allowance should be formally reviewed again in 2022 or earlier, if necessary, because of a change in his or Helen's circumstances."
  • 22/12/15 (2): Medical case. Surrey And Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust v Ms AB (2015) EWCOP 50, (2015) MHLO 121 — "This is an application by the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust for the court to give permission for the respondent, Ms AB, undergoing an above the knee amputation of her left leg. ... On the basis of the agreed psychiatric evidence, which I accepted, I was satisfied that Ms AB lacks the capacity to make a decision about her medical treatment and surgery. ... I am completely satisfied that, very sadly, the only best interests decision I can make is to give permission for the above knee amputation of Ms AB's left leg to be undertaken. I approve the use of reasonable restraint before, during and subsequent to surgery as is necessary to safeguard and protect her, including sedation. Further, I authorise the deprivation of her liberty insofar as it is necessary to perform the procedure."
  • 22/12/15 (1): Deputyship case. Re FT (2015) EWCOP 49, (2015) MHLO 120 — "This is an application for reconsideration of an order made by an authorised court officer appointing two of FT's daughters as his deputies for property and affairs. ... In my judgment, the factor of magnetic importance in this case is that FT named MA and PB to be the executors of his last will ... Accordingly, pursuant to rule 89(5), I affirm the order made on 2 September 2014 appointing the respondents [MA and PB] jointly and severally to act as FT's deputies for property and affairs. ... Costs ... I am singularly unimpressed with the applicants' conduct. Having made the application, they failed to follow it through. ... This is a case in which a departure from the general rule is justified. ... [T]he fact that [DC's] husband is in receipt of ESA and that she has claimed an exemption from the fees, doesn't grant her immunity from an order for costs being made against her. I intend to make an order that the costs are to be assessed on the standard basis and paid by DC, ST and TT in equal shares, and that the deputies are authorised to make an interest-free loan to the applicants from KT's funds to pay the costs, and that the loan will be repayable by the applicants from their respective shares of FT's estate on his death."

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