2021 cases

This year's cases have all been entered into the new database: see 2020 cases.

The old category structure shown on this page is comprehensive as it contains every case. The new database structure introduced in 2019 contains fewer cases but is easier to search: see Special:Drilldown/Cases.
The pages below are initially ordered according to the dates on which they were added to the site (most recent first). The order can be changed by clicking on the symbol beside a column heading: click on the symbol beside "Page and summary" for alphabetical order; click beside "Categories" for the order in which the cases were reported. Click on the arrow symbol again to reverse the order. Click on a page name to view the relevant page. Asterisks mark those cases which have been added to the new database structure.

Case and summary Date added Categories
* Transfer of child to DOL in Scotland London Borough of X v M and Y [2021] EWHC 440 (Fam)The English Court of Protection granted orders permitting the local authority (a) to place a child Y outside of the jurisdiction, in Scotland, pursuant to paragraph 19, Schedule 2, Children Act 1989; (b) to deprive Y of his liberty; and (c) to utilise the services of a secure transport company to transport Y to the proposed placement in Scotland, using reasonable force if necessary. 2021‑02‑27 07:49:20

* Death University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust v NZ [2021] EWCOP 16NZ was receiving life-sustaining treatment by way of an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine (ECMO), a last-resort treatment which had increased by a third during the coronavirus pandemic. The clinical lead consultant for ECMO stated that rather than seeking to preserve her life he was now "prolonging her death", and signalled to the judge that further treatment would be professionally unethical. The judge stated that best interests "requires the broad canvas of NZ's life, circumstances and needs to be considered in their totality" (not just medical opinion, religious beliefs, or wishes and feelings) and that "a court will never seek to compel or encourage a medical professional to act in a way that he or she considers unethical", and concluded that the treatment was not in her best interests. 2021‑02‑26 21:54:20 Judgment available on Bailii, Cases, 2021 cases, Medical treatment cases

* Lack of secure placement Re Q (A Child): A City Council v X [2021] EWHC 123 (Fam)Q would become a huge risk to young children and others in the absence of a suitable secure placement with intensive therapeutic work. However, no secure placement was available and, with "considerable reservations", the deprivation of his liberty was authorised under the High Court's inherent jurisdiction. 2021‑02‑15 21:58:12 Judgment available on Bailii, Cases, 2021 cases, Deprivation of liberty - children, Inherent jurisdiction cases

* Return to country of origin Re UR: Derby City Council v NHS Derby and Derbyshire CCG [2021] EWCOP 10It was in UR's best interests to return to live with and be cared for by her family in Poland, rather than remain in her care home in England. The judge discussed coronavirus issues, cross-border considerations and habitual residence, and set out a checklist for guidance in similar cases. 2021‑02‑14 23:18:56 Judgment available on Bailii, Cases, 2021 cases, Best interests

* Capacity to marry NB v MI [2021] EWHC 224 (Fam)The application for a declaration of non-recognition of a Muslim marriage pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court and the petition for nullity were unsuccessful: the wife had capacity (though maybe not wisdom) when she got married, so the marriage was valid under English law at its formation; even if the marriage had been voidable the judge would have refused to grant a non-recognition declaration as that would be contrary to statute; and the condition for granting leave out of time for the nullity petition was not satisfied. The judgment contains guidance on capacity to marry. 2021‑02‑14 11:37:08 Judgment available on Bailii, Cases, 2021 cases, Capacity to consent to sexual relations

* DOL of child at unregulated placement Lancashire County Council v G (No 4) [2021] EWHC 244 (Fam)The judge authorised the continued deprivation of liberty, concluding as follows: "In the circumstances I have set out above, I once again and wearily must authorise the continued deprivation of G in an unregulated placement that is not fully equipped to meet her complex needs by reason of the fact that I have no other option but to do so. I make clear that I consider that I can say that the placement is in G's best interests only because it is the sole option available to the court to prevent G causing herself serious and possibly fatal harm. Even then, it is clear that the placement is increasingly struggling to achieve even that limited goal. As has been the case each time this matter has come before me in the past number of months, I make the decision I do because I am left with no choice." 2021‑02‑12 22:45:46 2021 cases, Cases, Deprivation of liberty - children, Inherent jurisdiction cases, Judgment available on Bailii

* Cancer treatment Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v RB [2021] EWCOP 11RB lacked capacity to make decisions regarding his treatment. During the course of the hearing his litigation friend came to the view that the form of cancer care set out by the Trust was in RB's best interests. The matter was therefore agreed, but the court gave a short judgment. 2021‑02‑12 22:39:13 2021 cases, Cases, Judgment available on Bailii, Medical treatment cases

* DOL of child at unregulated placement A Borough Council v E [2021] EWHC 183 (Fam)The court, with reservations, authorised the deprivation of a child's liberty in a placement unregulated by Ofsted: she was being deprived of her liberty in an inappropriate hospital setting and there were no regulated placements available or willing to meet her identified welfare needs. 2021‑02‑11 23:15:05 2021 cases, Cases, Deprivation of liberty - children, Judgment available on Bailii

* Leg amputation Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust v TM [2021] EWCOP 8(1) TM lacked capacity in relation to the proposed bilateral below-knee amputation. (2) It was in his best interests to receive the surgery, and quickly, to avoid sepsis and death. (3) The pervasiveness of his misguided belief that he would recover without surgery substantially diminished the weight that might otherwise be given to his consistently expressed refusal. (4) The judge noted that it had become much easier for judges to visit the protected party since video conferencing platforms had been adopted. 2021‑01‑30 22:07:29 2021 cases, Cases, Judgment available on Bailii, Medical treatment cases

* Reasonable excuse to leave home NG v Hertfordshire County Council [2021] EWCOP 2The issue in this appeal was whether NG’s mother and step-father had a reasonable excuse to leave their homes to provide care to NG, pursuant to regulation 6(2)(d) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. 2021‑01‑29 22:55:16 2021 cases, Cases, Judgment available on Bailii, Miscellaneous

* Coronavirus vaccination Re E (Vaccine): LB Hammersmith and Fulham v W [2021] EWCOP 7Mrs E's adult son objected to her receiving a coronavirus vaccine. The Court of Protection decided that it would be in her best interests, having regard to factors including the following: (a) when she had capacity she had received the swine flu and influenza vaccinations; (b) she currently wanted "whatever is best for me"; (c) she was at risk of death from coronavirus because she was in her 80s, suffered from diabetes, lived in a care home which recently had coronavirus, and found social distancing difficult to understand; the vaccine would reduce the risk of death. 2021‑01‑29 22:32:25 2021 cases, Cases, Judgment available on Bailii, Medical treatment cases

* "Personally seen" and "personally examined" require physical presence Devon Partnership NHS Trust v SSHSC [2021] EWHC 101 (Admin)In this case the Trust sought declarations that the s12 requirement that a medical practitioner must have "personally examined" a patient before completing a medical recommendation and the s11 requirement that an AMHP must have "personally seen" the patient before making an application (both requirements being in relation to s2, 3, 4 and 7) could be met by remote means, as suggested in NHS, 'Legal guidance for mental health, learning disability and autism, and specialised commissioning services supporting people of all ages during the coronavirus pandemic' (v2, 19/5/20). (1) The High Court agreed to give an advisory opinion on statutory construction in this exceptional case, as there was a real (not hypothetical or academic) question, the Trust had a real interest in it, and the court had heard proper argument. (2) The High Court decided that both phrases require the physical attendance of the person in question on the patient, because of the following six considerations: (a) in this country, powers to deprive people of their liberty are generally exercised by judges and where, exceptionally, statute authorises administrative detention the powers are to be construed particularly strictly; (b) splitting up the compound phrases into individual words fails to capture their true import as understood when enacted; (c) Parliament understood the medical examination as necessarily involving physical presence (confirmed by the word "visiting" used elsewhere, and the fact that psychiatric assessment may involve a multi-sensory assessment); (d) it is not appropriate to apply an "updating construction", as the words were intended to be restrictive and circumscribed, and when enacted were understood as connoting physical presence; (e) medical examinations should ideally be carried out face-to-face (the Code of Practice and guidance both state this is preferable), and it is for Parliament to weigh up the competing interests (namely the need to ensure that administrative deprivations of liberty are properly founded on objective evidence and the need to maintain the system of MHA detention given the exigencies of the pandemic); (f) interpretation by the court would be applicable immediately and may remain in force for some time after the end of the current pandemic, but modification by Parliament could involve ongoing judgement on whether to bring them into force and whether to make them time limited. 2021‑01‑23 22:35:32 2021 cases, Cases, ICLR summary, Judgment available on Bailii, Miscellaneous