AH v West London MH NHS Trust  UKUT 74 (AAC)
Public hearing (1) Once the threshold tests for establishing a right to a public hearing have been satisfied, Article 6 ECHR (reinforced by Article 13 CRPD) requires that a patient should have the same or substantially equivalent right of access to a public hearing as a non-disabled person who has been deprived of his liberty; such a right can only be denied a patient if enabling that right imposes a truly disproportionate burden on the state. (2) The threshold tests are: (a) is it consistent with the subjective and informed wishes of the applicant (assuming he is competent to make an informed choice)? (b) will it have an adverse effect on his mental health in the short or long term, taking account of the views of those treating him and any other expert views? (c) are there any other special factors for or against a public hearing? (d) can practical arrangements be made for an open hearing without disproportionate burden on the authority? (3) How the right to a public hearing can be practically and proportionately be achieved will depend on the facts of each individual case, including the hospital's facilities. (4) The Tribunal directed that AH was to have a public hearing, not within Broadmoor hospital, with the press, public, AH and his representatives enabled to attend in person in the same hearing room. (5) It was likely that in future cases, if detailed evidence of how video-link and public-notification arrangements would work in practice is provided, that a video-link to off-site premises would suffice.
The CRPD is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The relevant rule is Tribunal rule 38.
AH v WLMHT and SoS (J) (Final)B
Case no HM/0084/2010
- Caroline Davies and Adam James, 'Broadmoor patient Albert Haines begins public appeal for release' (Guardian, 27/9/11)
- Jerome Taylor, 'Historic hearing begins into Broadmoor patient seeking his freedom' (Independent, 28/9/11)