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13/07/16 (1): Best interests case.Re A (A Child) (2016) EWCA Civ 759, (2016) MHLO 22 — "This is an appeal against the making of a declaration by Mrs Justice Parker on 20 June 2016 whereby she declared that: 'It is lawful and in A's best interest to remove his respiratory support by extubating him and, if he becomes unstable, not to reintroduce his respiratory support again but instead generally to furnish such treatment by way of pain relief or sedation and nursing as may be appropriate to ensure that A suffers the least distress and pain at the time and in the manner of his dying.'"
09/07/16 (2): Fitness to plead case.R v Orr (2016) EWCA Crim 889, (2016) MHLO 21 — "The appeal concerns the definition of 'fitness to plead' and the process engaged by the trial judge in the instant trial which proceeded after he found the defendant 'unfit to be cross examined'. ... Once the issue of fitness to plead has been raised it must be determined. In this case, the judge explicitly found that the appellant had been fit to participate in his trial up to the point of cross examination and thereby implicitly determined that the appellant was no longer able to fully participate in his trial within the 'Pritchard' refined criteria. In these circumstances, the procedure to be adopted was clearly set out by section Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964, 4A. We agree with the submission that this is a statutory mandatory requirement which cannot be avoided by the court's general discretion to order proceedings otherwise, however beneficial to the defendant they may appear. It follows that, in this case, the jury should not have been allowed to return a verdict, other than a verdict of acquittal if they were not satisfied on the evidence already given in the trial that the appellant did the act charged against him. The appeal against conviction must be allowed."
30/06/16 (1): King's College London: Mental Health, Ethics and Law MSc. This MSc programme will equip students to become leaders in mental health policy, law or practice. It has been designed for health care professionals, lawyers, policy makers, and all those with a relevant first degree who are keen to consider the difficult questions raised by mental ill health and society's response. Benefits of the programme include that it: (1) Offers in-depth and integrated clinical, philosophical and legal analysis of key issues in the field of mental health. (2) Is supported by the UK's first centre of medical law and ethics (CMLE) and Europe’s largest centre for research and teaching in psychiatry, psychology and neuroscience (IoPPN). (3) Is located in central London and maintains close links with national and international policy formers and leading legal and clinical practitioner communities. For further information on this course, please visit the King’s online prospectus.
23/06/16 (1): Manchester University/AMHPA: Taking Stock conference - Manchester, 21/10/16. — The University of Manchester and AMHPA (Approved Mental Health Professionals Association) are holding their annual conference on mental health law and practice - "Taking Stock" - on Friday 21/10/16 in Manchester. The speakers will include Sara Ryan, Norman Lamb MP, Margaret Flynn, Dr Tom Burns, Alex Ruck Keene, Yogi Amin, Jake Mills and Neil Allen. Price: £125. For further details see the AMHPA website or the conference's Eventbrite page for booking.
22/06/16 (2): Northumbria University: Achieving Justice Conference - Newcastle, 8/10/16 - 9/10/16. — "Achieving justice for families and children" will be debated at a major international research and practice conference being held at Northumbria University on 8/10/16 and 9/10/16. Early Bird rate registration available until 1/7/16. Keynote speakers are Sir James Munby, Nicholas Stonor, Brid Featherstone, Judith Masson and Kathryn Abel. Professor Kim Holt, Head of the Department of Social Work and Communities at Northumbria University, is organising the conference. For more information or to book a place visit the Northumbria University website
22/06/16 (1): Job advert.Cygnet Hospital, Bury - MHA Administrator Applicants should be working in an MHA role already. The starting salary is £18,000, or £20,000 for those with the MHA Law & Practice Certification. For more details, including how to apply, see the Jobs page. (Job vacancies can be listed here for a small fee.)
20/06/16 (1): Housing case.McDonald v McDonald (2016) UKSC 28, (2016) MHLO 20 — "This appeal raises three questions. The first is whether a court, when entertaining a claim for possession by a private sector owner against a residential occupier, should be required to consider the proportionality of evicting the occupier, in the light of section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The second question is whether, if the answer to the first question is yes, the relevant legislation, in particular section 21(4) of the Housing Act 1988, can be read so as to comply with that conclusion. The third question is whether, if the answer to the first and second questions is yes, the trial judge would have been entitled to dismiss the claim for possession in this case, as he said he would have done. ... The appellant, Fiona McDonald, is aged 45 and, sadly, she has had psychiatric and behavioural problems since she was five. ... In those circumstances, her parents, who are technically the respondents to this appeal, decided to buy a property for her to occupy. ... However, owing to financial difficulties which they unfortunately encountered in their business, they failed to meet all the [loan] interest as it fell due. ... the Receivers served a notice ... indicating that they would be seeking possession of the property."
12/06/16 (1): Appeal status information. The claim against Enfield in TW v Enfield Borough Council (2014) EWCA Civ 362, (2014) MHLO 26 was ultimately settled for £27,000. Thanks to Helen Curtis of Garden Court Chambers and Michael Paget of Cornerstone Chambers for providing this information (emails 9/6/16 and 10/6/16). Similar information relating to other cases is always welcome: please get in touch. Here is a summary of the Court of Appeal decision — The duty to consult under s11(4), the R (E) v Bristol case, and the Code of Practice, were all considered in light of Article 5 and Article 8. Overturning the High Court's decision, the Court of Appeal stated: "In summary, it seems to me that, as a matter of construction of section 11(4), when an [AMHP] is considering whether it is 'reasonably practicable' to consult the 'nearest relative' before making an application to admit a mental patient pursuant to section 3(1) and 13(1) of the MHA 1983 (in its form as at 29 June 2007), the section imposes on the [AMHP] an obligation to strike a balance between the patient's Article 5 right not to be detained unless that is done by a procedure that is in accordance with the law and the patient's Article 8(1) right to her private life."
11/06/16 (1): Life sentence appeal case.R v Ahmed (2016) EWCA Crim 670, (2016) MHLO 19 — "Saber Ahmed 31, was tried for murder in the Crown Court at Birmingham in 2006 before HHJ Matthews and a jury. On 3 August 2006 he was acquitted of murder and convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. On 20 October 2006 HHJ Matthews sentenced him to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 3 years and 6 months, less 462 days spent on remand. The judge recommended deportation. ... We are satisfied that in all the circumstances of this case it is appropriate to impose a hospital order with a restriction order. This is no reflection on the sentencing judge who passed the only sentence available to him on the evidence at the time. We quash the life sentence and we impose orders under Sections 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act 1983, the latter without limit of time. To that extent the appeal is allowed."
09/06/16 (2): Appeal status information. The claim against Durham in DD v Durham County Council (2013) EWCA Civ 96, (2013) MHLO 31 was ultimately discontinued. Thanks to Chris Buttler of Matrix Chambers for providing this information (email 4/4/16). Similar information relating to other cases is always welcome: please get in touch. Here is a summary of the Court of Appeal decision — DD wished to bring proceedings against local authorities arguing that (a) the two assessing AMHPs owed a duty to him (a legal responsibility not only for assessing whether the patient should be detained, but also for the suitability of the hospital at which the patient was to be detained and the regime under which he would be held); (b) that by making the application for admission, each was in breach of duty; and (c) that the county council was responsible vicariously for that breach of duty. (1) The Court of Appeal (reversing the High Court decision in this respect) decided that the argument was sufficient for leave under s139 to bring proceedings to be granted. (2) DD should not have been made responsible for the costs of Middlesbrough City Council.