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|James v James (2018) EWHC 43 (Ch)||
Banks v Goodfellow test for testamentary capacity survives MCA
"There is a preliminary question of law as to the test to be applied for testamentary capacity in a case like this, where the testator has made a will, died, and then the question of capacity has arisen. The traditional test for such a case is that laid down in Banks v Goodfellow (1870) LR 5 QB 549, 565, per Cockburn CJ: 'It is essential … that a testator shall understand the nature of his act and its effects; shall understand the extent of the property of which he is disposing; shall be able to comprehend and appreciate the claims to which he ought to give effect, and, with a view to the latter object, that no disorder of the mind shall poison his affections, avert his sense of right, or prevent the exercise of his natural faculties, that no insane delusion shall influence his will in disposing of his property and bring about a disposal of it which, if his mind had been sound, would not have been made.' ... More recently the Mental Capacity Act 2005 has made fresh provision for the law of mental capacity in certain situations. What is unfortunately not made express in that legislation is the extent to which this fresh provision affects the test for capacity to make a will when that question is being judged retrospectively (typically, though not necessarily, post mortem). ... The general rule of precedent, as applied in the High Court, is that that court is not strictly bound by decisions of co-ordinate jurisdiction, but will follow them as a matter of comity unless convinced they are wrong ... As it happens, I think the decision in Walker v Badmin  EWHC 71 (Ch)Not on Bailii! [that the test in Banks v Goodfellow not only had survived the enactment of the 2005 Act, but that it, rather than anything in the Act, was still the sole test of capacity for judging will-making capacity in retrospect] is right, and for the reasons given by the deputy judge. ... Whilst it is a complication to have two tests for mental capacity in making wills, one prospective and the other retrospective, it is a complication created by the decision of Parliament to legislate as it has, a decision that the courts must respect."
|Re KT (2018) EWCOP 1||
Role of COP Visitor in DOL cases
"These are four test cases that were stayed in accordance with my decision in Re JM  EWCOP 15,  MHLO 31. ... There are now over 300 such cases in which the MoJ and DoH (alone or together with the relevant applicant local authority or other public body) have not been able to identify a professional who the COP could appoint to act as P's Rule 3A representative. ... The first issue raised in these test cases is whether a welfare order approving a care plan advanced as being uncontroversial and which authorises any DOL caused by its implementation will have been made by a procedure that satisfies the minimum procedural requirements of Article 5 and common law fairness if P's participation in the proceedings is through the appointment of a general visitor to prepare a report under s. 49 of the MCA and that report supports the making of that welfare order. If the answer to that question is in the affirmative, the following issues arise, namely: (i) What approach should be taken by the COP to choosing this option or other options and in particular the appointment of a professional Rule 3A representative? (ii) What directions should be given to a visitor on what he should do and report on? (iii) Should the Crown be or remain as a Respondent? ... I have therefore concluded ... that periodic reviews by the COP with the benefit of information provided by a visitor meets the procedural requirements."
|Re M: AB v HT (2018) EWCOP 2||
Declaration of non-marriage in English law
"These complex and difficult proceedings in the Court of Protection concern a 37-year-old woman, hereafter referred to as M, who (as I have found, for reasons set out below) at present lacks capacity by virtue of a combination of psychotic illness and acquired brain injury. The parties to the proceedings are the applicant, M's father, hereafter referred to as AB; her aunt, hereafter referred to as HT; the local authority for the area where HT, and currently M, live, namely the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham; and a man hereafter referred to as MS, with whom M went through a religious ceremony of marriage in 2013. A dispute has arisen concerning a number of issues about her past, present and future which has necessitated a lengthy and unusual fact-finding hearing. This judgment sets out my conclusions on the disputed matters of fact, together with an analysis as to her capacity, and orders made following my findings."