A Hospital NHS Trust v CD [2015] EWCOP 74, [2015] MHLO 94

CD was willing to have the total abdominal hysterectomy, in order to remove two very large ovarian growths, which the medical experts recommended. (1) Mostyn J held that she lacked capacity in relation to this but that it was in her best interests to have the surgery. (2) The correct way to interpret the MCA ineligibity rules is as follows: "if the MHA regime whereby CD is compulsorily detained in a mental hospital imposes a specific requirement for dealing with the problem of the ovarian masses then CD is ineligible to be deprived of her liberty under the 2005 Act for the purposes of dealing with the problem by a different procedure under that Act. It doesn't (obviously) so she isn't ineligible." (3) In relation to deprivation of liberty the judge noted: "In KW & Ors v Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council [2015] EWCA Civ 1054M at para 32 the Court of Appeal stated 'even if Cheshire West is wrong, there is nothing confusing about it'. It may seem that way from the lofty heights of the Court of Appeal; and of course the literal words of the Supreme Court's test are perfectly easy to understand. But for we hoplites who have to administer it at first instance the scope and ramifications of the test are, with respect, extremely confusing. As Mr Matthewson, instructed by the Official Solicitor for CD, rightly stated 'anyone who deals with this day by day knows this is confusing'. What of the situation where, as here, the protected person actively and fervently expresses the wish to undergo the procedure that is said to amount to a deprivation of liberty? What of the situation, as was the case in Bournemouth Borough Council v PS [2015] EWCOP 39, [2015] MHLO 112, where the protected person shows no inclination whatsoever to leave the home where he is cared for round the clock? What of the situation where the protected person is seriously disabled, perhaps bedridden, perhaps in a coma, and is thus physically incapable of exercising the freedom to leave? The answers I received from the Bar when discussing these scenarios belie the blithe suggestion that 'there is nothing confusing' about the test. I do not accept the criticism that my approach to these cases is 'distorted' by my 'passionate' and 'tenacious' belief that Cheshire West is wrong. Rather, it is a loyal approach which tries to apply literally and purposively the Supreme Court's test while at the same time pointing out how confusing and curious it is, to say nothing of the cost it causes to the public purse. The confusion surrounding the main test is mirrored by the confusion that the interface with the MHA gives rise to."

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