If you have anything which is not yet on the internet (e.g. court results or transcripts) then please send it in (see Help page). As well as reading the website, you can keep up to date by subscribing to the CPD scheme, email updates, email discussion list, and the various other options listed at the top of each page.
Recent updates on website
For details of any news item, click on the relevant link below.
26/05/16 (1): FOI case.Home Office (Central government) (2016) UKICO FS50618706, (2016) MHLO 18 — "The complainant has requested information about police powers under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act to detain mentally disordered persons found in public places. By the date of this notice the Home Office had not responded to the request. The Commissioner’s decision is that by failing to respond to the request, the Home Office breached sections 1(1) and 10(1) of the FOIA. The Commissioner requires the Home Office to take the following steps. to ensure compliance with the legislation: Issue a response to the request under the FOIA by either complying with section 1(1) or issuing a valid refusal notice. The Home Office must take these steps within 35 calendar days of the date of this decision notice. Failure to comply may result in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court pursuant to section 54 of the Act and may be dealt with as a contempt of court." The request was: "What qualifies a constable to take decisions regarding the mental health of a member of the public, and how is this not a breach of human rights. This is a particularly important request in the context that police forces are unlawfully detaining innocent members of the public by use of this Act."
22/05/16 (1): Hospital managers' hearing case.South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHSFT v Hospital Managers of St George's Hospital (2016) EWHC 1196 (Admin), (2016) MHLO 17 — "This is an application for judicial review of a decision by an independent panel on 12 April 2016 to discharge the Interested Party, AU, from detention under the Mental Health Act 1983. It is brought by South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Whitworth (previously AU's responsible clinician). ... To put the case in general terms the claimants are concerned about the Panel's decision to discharge AU in the light of the views of the clinical team and also a decision of the First Tier Tribunal ... which decided on 10 March 2016 not to discharge him from detention. ... The judicial review raises an important point of principle as to the capacity of a body to seek judicial review of a decision which it could have made itself. In broad terms the Trust appointed the Panel and under the 1983 Act it exercised delegated powers. Because AU raised this point in his grounds, Warby J joined Dr Whitworth as a second claimant to the action on 4 May 2016 on the basis that, if the Trust could not seek judicial review, she could. If the Trust and Dr Whitworth can seek judicial review, the grounds they advance against the Panel's decision are, first, that it failed to treat the Tribunal's decision as a relevant consideration and, secondly, that the Panel's decision is irrational in light of the evidence available and the reasons it has given."
13/15/16 (2): Deprivation of liberty case.Re Daniel X (2016) EWFC B31, (2016) MHLO 16 — "This is the final hearing of the care proceedings brought by Thurrock Borough Council in relation to Daniel X, a boy of 10. ... It is also the final hearing of the application by Thurrock Borough Council for me to authorise them to deprive Daniel of his liberty by accommodating him in Y Home. ... The outstanding issue is that of Daniel's liberty, and there is a great deal of consensus on this point too. However, it has been agreed at the bar that it would be helpful if I set out the position in law and how I consider the law applies to Daniel."
05/05/16 (1): GHP Legal, Wrexham - Mental Health Lawyer. GHP Legal are recruiting for a solicitor/caseworker to represent clients at tribunals, ideally an accredited panel member, but applications are welcome from both qualified and non-qualified individuals who are dedicated, hard-working and enthusiastic. For further information and application details see GHP Legal, Wrexham - Mental Health Lawyer
04/05/16 (1): Tax case.Pennine Care NHS Trust v HMRC (2016) UKFTT 222 (TC), (2016) MHLO 14 — "The Appellant appeals against a decision dated 29 July 2011 issued by the Commissioners of Revenue and Customs that the construction services and materials received by the Appellant in the course of the construction of a mental health residential unit are not subject to zero rating for the purposes of VAT. Both parties agreed that the issue in this appeal is whether Prospect Place Low Secure Mental Health Unit was intended for use as a hospital or similar institution. HMRC contend that it was and therefore the supplies were standard rated. The Appellant contends that the use of the Unit satisfies paragraphs (b) and/or (g) of Note (4) and the exception for use as a hospital or similar institution does not apply; accordingly the supplies were eligible for zero rating."
02/05/16 (1): Commission on Acute Adult Psychiatric Care, 'Old Problems, New Solutions: Improving Acute Psychiatric Care for Adults in England' (9/2/16). Introduction from CAAPC website: "The report highlights system-wide problems in mental healthcare in England including variable quality of care on inpatient units, inadequate availability of inpatient care or alternatives to inpatient admission, and patients remaining in hospital for longer than necessary due to inadequate residential provision. The Commission’s report consequently recommends significant changes to how services are commissioned, organised and monitored across the whole mental health system. It also calls for faster access to acute care and an end to sending severely-ill mental health patients long distances for treatment." See also: (1) CAAPC website; (2) summary document. See Miscellaneous external links
01/05/16 (3): Judiciary website, 'Court of Protection Transparency Pilot for increased access for public and media 2016' (28/1/16). This web page contains the following documents: (1) Court of Protection: Transparency Pilot - Background note (2015); (2) Court of Protection Practice Direction: Transparency Pilot (January 2016); (3) Court of Protection: Transparency Pilot - Cause list descriptors (19 January 2016); (4) Court of Protection Pilots - Note from the Vice President to judges; (5) HMCTS Q and A Court of Protection Pilot. See Court of Protection Practice Directions
01/05/16 (1): Medical case.Re P (Huntingdon's disease patient at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust) (2016) MHLO 13 — This case involved a man in his 30s in the advanced stages of Huntington’s disease who had repeatedly pulled out a feeding tube attached to his stomach. The Trust applied for a ruling on what treatment would be in his best interests. Having heard evidence from a consultant neurologist (who said that it would not be right, and would be futile, to re-insert the feeding tube), and other evidence, including from relatives, Hayden J concluded that the tube should not be reinserted, even though this would hasten the man’s death. (Summary based on Press Association article.)
29/04/16 (2): Colin Harnett, 'Changing discharge conditions - residence' (Dear Colleague letter from Head of Mental Health Casework Section, 17/12/15). In response to a case in which the MOJ had not closely managed a patient's movements (it had not registered a change of address), the following policy will apply from 4/1/16: (1) All conditionally-discharged patients will have a condition giving an actual residence address, and RCs will not have a discretion to move patients without providing 14 days' notice; (2) If the tribunal does not specify an address the MOJ will add one; (3) Existing conditions will be re-examined on receipt of conditionally-discharged patient reports and conditions may be amended (to add an address or remove the RC's discretion to move the patient); (4) Discharges by the MOJ will also accord with this policy; (5) Dialogue with the MOJ before the 14-day point is encouraged. See Ministry of Justice#External links
29/04/16 (1): Judiciary website, 'Court of Protection: draft Case Management Pilot Practice Direction' (2/3/16). This web page contains information about, and links to, two draft Practice Directions: "Practice Direction: Case Management Pilot" and "Practice Direction: Section 49 Reports Pilot". Comments on the drafts are invited. The final Practice Directions are expected to come into force in June 2016. See Court of Protection Practice Directions
28/04/16 (1): Immigration case.R (O) v SSHD (2016) UKSC 19, (2016) MHLO 12 — "The appellant, O, is a woman of Nigerian nationality, aged 38. In November 2003, with her son, then aged three, she illegally entered the UK. In July 2008 she pleaded guilty to offences of cruelty towards her son, who had returned to live in Nigeria, and the court sentenced her to 12 months' imprisonment and recommended that she be deported. On 8 August 2008 her sentence came to an end, whereupon the respondent, the Home Secretary, detained her - at first pending the making of a deportation order and then, following the making of such an order, pending her deportation pursuant to it. O's detention, which was at the Immigration Removal Centre at Yarl's Wood in Bedfordshire, continued until 6 July 2011 when, pursuant to a grant of bail on 1 July 2011, she was released. It follows that O was detained at Yarl's Wood for almost three years. The court knows nothing about her circumstances after 6 July 2011 but infers that she has not, or not yet, been deported. ... In the present proceedings, which - chronologically - encompass her fourth claim for judicial review, O challenges the lawfulness of the later period of her detention, namely from 22 July 2010, and in particular from say 4 March 2011, until 6 July 2011. The object of the present proceedings has never been to secure her release, which had already occurred at the time of their issue. The object has been to secure a declaration that the detention was unlawful and, perhaps in particular, an award of substantial damages for false imprisonment. ... O has the misfortune to have suffered for many years from serious mental ill-health. So the appeal requires this court to consider the Home Secretary's policy relating to the detention of the mentally ill pending deportation; and perhaps also to identify the criterion by which the court should determine a complaint that she has failed to implement some aspect of her policy relating to it. Furthermore the Home Secretary is obliged to conduct monthly reviews of whether a person's detention pending deportation should continue. There were, as the Court of Appeal held, defects in the Home Secretary's conduct of the monthly reviews of O's detention between March and July 2011. ... [W]ere O's claim for judicial review permitted to proceed, the result in all likelihood would be a declaration that her detention from 4 March 2011 to 6 July 2011 was unlawful and an award to her of damages in the sum of £1. ... I would dismiss the appeal."
25/04/16 (3): MHLA: Panel course - London, 28/6/16 and 29/6/16. — The Mental Health Lawyers Association are running their Panel Course on Tuesday 28/6/16 and Wednesday 29/6/16. 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.
25/04/16 (2): MHLA: Court of Protection conference - Manchester, 24/6/16. — The Mental Health Lawyers Association's third annual Court of Protection Conference will be held on Friday 24/6/16 in Manchester. Keynote speaker: Mr Justice Charles, Vice President of the Court of Protection. Price: £120 (MHLA members); £180 (non-members). CPD: 6 hours. See MHLA website for further details and to book online.
25/04/16 (1): MHLA: Intro to Court of Protection - London, 12/5/16 and 13/5/16. — The Mental Health Lawyers Association are running an "Introduction to the Court of Protection" course on Thursday 12/5/16 and Friday 13/5/16 in London. This course is primarily aimed at practitioners with little or no experience in conducting matters before the Court and those seeking a practical foundation to undertaking proceedings in the Court. The course will cover health and welfare matters, deprivation of liberty, funding and, to a lesser extent, issues relating to property and affairs. Price: £300 (MHLA members); £390 (non-members); £270 (group discount). CPD: 12 hours. See MHLA website for further details and to book online.
19/04/16 (1): Mental Health Law Online is 10 years old today! Celebrate by buying the Annual Review and leaving good feedback on Amazon :-)