Category:Unlawful detention cases

The old category structure used on this page is comprehensive as it contains every relevant case. The new database structure was introduced in 2019. It is more potentially useful than the old categorisation system: it includes all cases since January 2017, but only a minority of older cases: 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
* DOLS ineligibility under Case E Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust v JS [2023] EWCOP 12 — Jane, a 17-year-old patient, had been detained under s2 on an acute medical ward following a paracetamol overdose. When the s2 expired her detention continued as before, purportedly under common law but in fact unlawfully, and an application was made to the court. The plan was to discharge Jane to her mother's in a few days once a care package was arranged. (1) The court decided that she lacked capacity in relation to residence, care and treatment and that, inappropriate as it was (the ward being mixed-sex, all-ages, non-psychiatric and non-CAMHS), it was in her best interests to remain for the time being, and it therefore authorised the plan in the interim. (2) The court subsequently considered "ineligibility" under Case E for MCA detention, which arises when a patient is within the scope of the MHA (essentially, when an MHA application could be made and the patient could be detained) and the patient objects to at least some of the mental health treatment. The team responsible for conducting gatekeeping assessments for Tier 4 in-patient units had decided she did not meet the MHA criteria, but when the matter goes to court it is for the judge to decide. The patient clearly objected. She met the MHA criteria: she needed to be nursed safely and medicated to address the effects of her mental disorder, and no alternative was yet available. The decision on using the MHA cannot be viewed in isolation from what is (or is not) available elsewhere at the time. The jurisdictional label (MHA, MCA, inherent jurisdiction, or common law) is irrelevant when the care plan and length of detention would be the same in practice. (3) To use the inherent jurisdiction would be inappropriate because there is no statutory gap to patch (Jane could and should have been treated under the MHA) and because to do so would provide an incentive to avoid using the MHA. 2023‑06‑14 13:38:08 2023 cases

* Unlawful DOL damages London Borough of Haringey v Emile [2020] MHLO 70 (CC) — The local authority commenced proceedings seeking payment of £80,913.38 outstanding care fees, and were successful, but ended up also being ordered to pay damages of £130,000 (uplifted to £143,000) for 7 years and 10 months of unlawful deprivation of liberty, and costs following their refusal of an offer to settle. It appealed from the District Judge to a Circuit Judge, unsuccessfully. 2021‑02‑11 23:06:24 2020 cases, Cases, Deprivation of liberty, Judgment available on MHLO, Neutral citation unknown or not applicable, Pages using DynamicPageList3 parser function, Transcript, Unlawful detention cases, 2020/12/18 cases

* Nominal damages (Barrymore) Parker v Chief Constable of Essex Police [2018] EWCA Civ 2788 — "In the early hours of 31 March 2001, Michael Parker (a celebrity entertainer who is better known by his stage name, Michael Barrymore) returned to his home with eight guests. ... In relation to Mr Parker, that arrest was to be effected by Det. Con. Susan Jenkins who had played a central role in the re-investigation and was well aware of the evidence: she believed she had reasonable grounds both to suspect Mr Parker of committing an offence and to conclude that it was necessary to effect his arrest. In the event, she was detained in traffic and a surveillance officer (P.C. Cootes) was ordered to effect the arrest, which he did. ... For these reasons, I would conclude that Stuart-Smith J was correct to conclude that there were reasonable grounds both to suspect Mr Parker of committing an offence and that it was necessary to arrest him. Equally, however, I have no doubt that had things been done as they should have been done (to quote Baroness Hale in Kambadzi), a lawful arrest would have been effected. Thus, I would allow this appeal and, in answer to the issue posed by the Master, declare that Mr Parker is entitled to nominal damages only." 2019‑04‑30 23:10:30 2018 cases, Cases, ICLR summary, Judgment available on Bailii, Pages using DynamicPageList3 parser function, Unlawful detention cases, 2018/12/11 cases, Judgment missing from Bailii

* Damages for unlawful psychiatric detention PB v Priory Group Ltd [2018] MHLO 74 — A Part 36 offer of £11,500 plus legal costs was accepted in this claim brought for unlawful detention and breach of Article 5. The patient had been detained under s5(2) when not an in-patient, and this section had lapsed for nearly seven hours before detention under s2 began. 2019‑04‑19 22:07:56 2018 cases, Cases, Judgment does not exist, Pages using DynamicPageList3 parser function, Unlawful detention cases, 2018/05/10 cases

* Aggravated damages following MCA breaches Esegbona v King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust [2019] EWHC 77 (QB) — "The claimant, Dr Gloria Esegbona, brings this claim as administrator of the estate of the deceased, her mother, Christiana Esegbona. The action is brought in negligence and false imprisonment. The amended claim form states that the claimant's claim is a claim in clinical negligence and/or pursuant to the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and/or the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934. The claimant claims damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity as well as damages, including aggravated damages, for false imprisonment. It is the claimant's case not only that the medical, nursing and other staff at the defendant’s hospital owed her mother a duty to treat her with reasonable care and skill but also that the defendant had duties under the Mental Capacity Act 2005: to take reasonable steps to establish whether Mrs Esegbona lacked capacity before doing any act in connection with her care or treatment; and further that if the defendant reasonably believed that Mrs Esegbona lacked capacity whether it would be in her best interests for any act in connection with her care or treatment to be done; and to take steps to obtain a court order or the relevant authorisation under schedule A1 to the Act before depriving Mrs Esegbona of her liberty. The claimant says the defendant acted in breach of these duties." 2019‑02‑04 23:30:49 2019 cases, Cases, Judgment available on Bailii, Judgment available on MHLO, Pages using DynamicPageList3 parser function, Transcript, Unlawful detention cases, Judgment available on Bailii, 2019/01/22 cases

* False imprisonment and damages R (Jollah) v SSHD [2018] EWCA Civ 1260 — "The context is one of immigration detention. The claimant, who is the respondent to this appeal (and who for present purposes I will call "IJ"), was made subject to a curfew restriction between the hours of 23.00 and 07.00 for a period between 3 February 2014 and 14 July 2016, pending potential deportation. Such curfew was imposed by those acting on behalf of the appellant Secretary of State purportedly pursuant to the provisions of paragraph 2 (5) of Schedule 3 to the Immigration Act 1971 (as it then stood). It has, however, been accepted in these proceedings that, in the light of subsequent Court of Appeal authority, there was no power to impose a curfew under those provisions. Consequently, the curfew was unlawfully imposed. The question arising is whether IJ is entitled to damages for false imprisonment in respect of the time during which he was subject to the unlawful curfew. The trial judge, Lewis J, decided that he was. Having so decided, the judge at a subsequent hearing assessed the damages at £4,000: [2017] EWHC 330 (Admin)B; [2017] EWHC 2821 (Admin)B. The Secretary of State now appeals, with leave granted by the judge, against the decision that IJ was entitled to damages for false imprisonment. IJ cross-appeals, with leave granted by Singh LJ, against the amount of the award of damages. It is said on behalf of IJ that a much greater award should have been made." 2019‑01‑29 14:44:09 2018 cases, Cases, ICLR summary, Judgment available on Bailii, Pages using DynamicPageList3 parser function, Unlawful detention cases, Judgment available on Bailii, 2018/06/12 cases

* Damages following unlawful arrest (Barrymore) Parker v Chief Constable of Essex Police [2017] EWHC 2140 (QB) — "The Defendant founds its submission that the Claimant is entitled to nominal damages only on the decision of the Supreme Court in Lumba (WL) v SSHD [2011] UKSC 12. Lumba has been considered and applied by the Supreme Court in R (Kambadzi) v SSHD [2011] UKSC 23B and by the Court of Appeal in Bostridge v Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust [2015] EWCA Civ 79, [2015] MHLO 12. The Defendant relies upon Kambadzi and Bostridge as well as Lumba. ... Applying the basic principles of compensatory damages in tort, the counterfactual (i.e. what would have happened if the tort had not been committed) in Lumba was that the Secretary of State would have detained the claimants lawfully pursuant to the published policy. ... In Bostridge the finding of the trial judge was that the appellant would have been detained as and when he was if his illness had been correctly addressed via section 3 of the Mental Health Act, as it should have been; and that he would then have received precisely the same treatment and been discharged when he was. The Court of Appeal held that the fact that this counterfactual necessarily included steps being taken by persons other than the Defendant did not prevent the application of the principles set out in Lumba. The appellant therefore recovered only nominal damages. It is not enough for a Defendant in the position of the Secretary of State in Lumba or the Defendant in the present case to show that the counterfactual could have resulted in the same outcome as had been caused by the tort: the Defendant must go on to show that it would have done so. ... It follows that I reject the Defendant's submission that the principles set out in Lumba are applicable if the unlawfully arrested Claimant was "arrestable", meaning that he could have been lawfully arrested: it is necessary for the Defendant also to show that he would have been lawfully arrested. The principles set out in Lumba lead to an award of nominal damages if no loss has been suffered because the results of the counterfactual are the same as the events that happened. If and to the extent that they diverge (e.g. because a lawful arrest would not have occurred at the time but would have occurred later) the Court will have to decide on normal tortious compensatory principles whether and to what extent a substantial award of damages is merited for the divergence in outcome. What is the appropriate counterfactual in a given case will be acutely fact-sensitive." 2017‑08‑28 22:29:49 2017 cases, Cases, Judgment available on Bailii, Pages using DynamicPageList3 parser function, Unlawful detention cases, Judgment available on Bailii, 2017/04/18 cases

* HRA time limit AP v Tameside MBC [2017] EWHC 65 (QB) — "The essence of the claim under Article 5 is that the Claimant was unlawfully deprived of his liberty between the 1st of February 2011 and the 12th of August 2013, a period of some two and a half years. ... In the present case the extension period sought (18 months) represents an extension equal to the whole of the primary limitation period (12 months) and half as much again. ... For all these reasons I decline to grant the Claimant an extension of time under section 7 to bring his human rights claim against the Defendant." 2017‑02‑02 19:55:25 2017 cases, Cases, Deprivation of liberty, ICLR summary, Judgment available on Bailii, Miscellaneous cases, Pages using DynamicPageList3 parser function, Unlawful detention cases, Judgment available on Bailii, 2017/01/20 cases

Bostridge v Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust [2015] EWCA Civ 79, [2015] MHLO 12 — "The single issue in this appeal is whether the appellant, a mentally disordered patient unlawfully detained in hospital for some 442 days, is entitled to substantial damages instead of the nominal damages awarded by the judge, in circumstances where he would anyway have been detained lawfully had the defendant NHS trust been aware of the unlawfulness. ... I would dismiss this appeal." 2015‑02‑12 22:58:20 2015 cases, Judgment available on Bailii, No summary, Transcript, Unlawful detention cases, Pages using DynamicPageList3 parser function

Bostridge v Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust [2014] EWCA Civ 1005, [2014] MHLO 85The judge had awarded only nominal damages because the patient had suffered no loss as a result of his unlawful detention. The Court of Appeal gave permission to appeal, stating as follows: "Mr Drabble submits that in approaching the matter as he did the judge fell into error because the decisions of the Supreme Court in Lumba and Kambadzi do not establish that only nominal damages follow where there was a complete absence of statutory authority for a detention. To the contrary, Mr Drabble argues, there is a distinction between an unlawful detention where there was no threshold power to detain and detention which is unlawful on other grounds despite there having been lawful authority to detain in the first place. Moreover, Mr Drabble continues, the Act reflects the particular importance of compliance with the procedural requirements for lawful detention and it is simply no answer to the appellant's claim to say that he could have been detained had the appropriate procedures been followed. What is more, says Mr Drabble, the appellant has lost the protection of the rights and procedures which Parliament has provided in the Act for vulnerable persons such as him. That, he says, is a real not a nominal loss. I have been persuaded that these are points which merit consideration by this court, both because an appeal would have a reasonable prospect of success and because the appeal raises a point of principle, namely the approach to be adopted where a person responsible for an unlawful detention was not in a position lawfully to detain the subject without ensuring that an important condition precedent had been fulfilled, the condition precedent being compliance with the safeguards contained in section 3 of the Act. Further, in the circumstances of this case, compliance with those safeguards was not a matter which lay wholly within the power of the respondent." 2014‑08‑06 21:56:14 2014 cases, 39 Essex Street summary, Judgment available on MHLO, Judgment missing from Bailii, Pages using DynamicPageList3 parser function, Transcript, Unlawful detention cases

Bostridge v Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust [2014] MHLO 42 (CC)A tribunal’s deferred discharge from s3 took place just before a CTO was purportedly imposed. Recall from that (non-existent) CTO, and subsequent detention, had been unlawful; however, because no loss had been shown, following Lumba (a Supreme Court decision on immigration detention), only nominal damages were awarded in this county court case. (The Court of Appeal gave permission to appeal.) 2014‑06‑17 21:48:34 2014 cases, Brief summary, Judgment available on MHLO, Neutral citation unknown or not applicable, Transcript, Unlawful detention cases

R (Sessay) v South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust [2011] EWHC 2617 (QB)The police entered the claimant's private accommodation, unaccompanied and without a s135 warrant, purporting to be acting under ss5-6 MCA 2005 in her best interests; she was taken to hospital and, after a 13-hour delay in the s136 suite, detained under s2 MHA 1983. (1) Sections 135 and 136 MHA 1983 are the exclusive powers available to police officers to remove persons who appear to be mentally disordered to a place of safety. Sections 5 and 6 MCA 2005 do not confer on police officers authority to remove persons to hospital or other places of safety for the purposes set out in sections 135 and 136. (2) The MHA provides a complete statutory code for compulsory admission to hospital for non-compliant incapacitated patients, so the common law doctrine of necessity does not apply during the period in which a patient is being assessed for detention under the Act. If there is urgent necessity to detain then the s4 procedure should be followed; if even this procedure is too slow then the police can be asked to detain under s136 (an A&E department being a place to which the public have access): there is no lacuna in the MHA. There is unlikely to be unlawful detention or breach of Article 5 if there is no undue delay during the processing of an application under ss2 or 4 MHA 1983. (3) On the facts, as the detention was purportedly under s5 MCA and the application for detention under s2 MHA was delayed, the claimant had been detained in hospital without lawful justification, and deprived of her liberty in breach of Article 5; she was entitled to damages. 2011‑10‑13 11:38:58 2011 cases, Brief summary, Judgment available on Bailii, Transcript, Unlawful detention cases

Re S-C (Mental Patient: Habeas Corpus) [1995] EWCA Civ 60 — Habeas corpus. 2011‑05‑26 18:40:35 1995 cases, Judgment available on Bailii, No summary, Transcript, Unlawful detention cases

Lumba (WL) v SSHD [2011] UKSC 12(1) It was unlawful in public law for the SSHD to operate an unpublished policy on the detention of foreign national prisoners which differed from the published policy and which amounted to a near-blanket ban on release. (2) The detention of the appellants was unlawful, even though they would have been detained even on the published policy. (3) As they suffered no loss, the appellants were entitled to nominal damages of one pound (and not 'vindicatory' or exemplary damages). 2011‑04‑30 19:09:35 2011 cases, Brief summary, Judgment available on Bailii, Transcript, Unlawful detention cases

TTM v LB Hackney [2011] EWCA Civ 4(1) Where a local authority makes an unlawful application to a hospital for the detention of a patient under the MHA, it can be held liable in damages for false imprisonment when its unlawful act directly causes the detention; (2) although the hospital may act lawfully in detaining such a patient under s6(3) (if the application appeared to be duly made) that does not prevent the detention being held to be unlawful from the outset as against the local authority; (3) an application for detention that is made contrary to s11(4) (in the face of the Nearest Relative's objection) is in breach of Article 5(1); (4) Article 5(5) entitles a person detained in breach of Article 5(1) to compensation, and s139(1) (no liability unless bad faith or lack of reasonable care) can be read down so as to allow such a claim to proceed; (5) the word 'practicable' in s12(2) (requiring a recommendation from a doctor with previous acquaintance of the patient if practicable) should be broadly construed; (6) (obiter) a breach of s12(2) does not go to jurisdiction, but is one made in the exercise of that jurisdiction, and as such is less likely to make detention unlawful; (7) on the facts, the local authority was liable in false imprisonment and breach of Article 5 because of the s11(4) breach, and permission was granted under s139(2) for a compensation claim to be pursued, but there was no s12(2) breach because it had been reasonable to obtain two independent opinions from doctors not acquainted with the patient, given the divergence of views between the treating doctors who were. 2011‑01‑14 12:03:45 2011 cases, Consulting NR, Detailed summary, ICLR summary, Judgment available on Bailii, Miscellaneous cases, Transcript, Unlawful detention cases

R (SP) v SSJ [2010] EWCA Civ 1590The Secretary of State for Justice was entitled to rely on a medical recommendation under s47 which did not explicitly address the new 'appropriate treatment' test: (1) his case workers are not concerned to pursue medical reasoning, but only to see whether the expert had given some reasons which they considered adequate and did not conflict with the facts known or the statutory requirements; (2) he was entitled to give the reports a sensible meaning, and to satisfy himself that the 'appropriate treatment' test was met by reference to matters which had been in the report by necessary implication. [Summary based on All ER (D) report of ex tempore judgment] 2010‑12‑01 21:12:38 2010 cases, Brief summary, Judgment available on Bailii, Transcript, Unlawful detention cases

R (ZN) v South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust (2010) CO/9457/2009The de facto detention of an informal incapacitous patient, and the series of detentions under s5(2), was unlawful. (Claim settled by consent.) 2010‑06‑28 16:32:40 2010 cases, Brief summary, Deprivation of liberty, Judgment does not exist, No transcript, Unlawful detention cases

R (SP) v SSJ [2010] EWHC 1124 (Admin)(1) In considering the lawfulness of a s47 transfer the two questions are (a) whether the decision-maker applied his mind to the statutory criteria and (b) whether the material before the decision-maker was sufficient to sustain the eventual conclusion. The court will review the decision with anxious scrutiny, as transfer at the end of a prison sentence extends detention. (2) It was clear that the decision-maker did apply her mind to the criteria. (3) One of the two medical recommendations was on the old form so did not explicitly address the new "appropriate treatment available" test. However, the medical report provided a sound foundation for the conclusion that the test was met: it was implicit in her report; there is an overlap with the "appropriate to be detained" test, which was addressed; and it was further confirmed in a letter. 2010‑05‑22 10:07:05 2010 cases, Brief summary, Judgment available on Bailii, Transcript, Unlawful detention cases

R (DK) v SSJ [2010] EWHC 82 (Admin)DK's s47 transfer was based on the report of a doctor and a psychologist which dealt with the treatability of his psychopathic disorder, and three proforma reports from doctors which did not deal with treatability. As treatability was not addressed, with reasons, by two medical practitioners, the transfer decision was quashed. [Caution: decided before 2007 Act amendments.] 2010‑01‑20 22:33:41 2010 cases, Brief summary, Judgment available on Bailii, Transcript, Unlawful detention cases

C v Clinical Director of St Patricks Hospital [2009] IEHC 13 — This is an application on behalf of the applicant for a declaration that the applicant is unlawfully detained by the first respondent contrary to Article 40.4 of the Constitution. The essence of the applicant’s case is that prior to her arrival at the respondent’s hospital, she was initially detained by the gardaí and unlawfully removed to the hospital by them. The applicant argues that this alleged unlawful detention by the gardaí, has tainted the subsequent detention by the respondents even though, by and large, apart from this initial reception the respondents have meticulously followed the proper procedures for dealing with such persons as set out in the legislation and the Mental Health Act 2001 in particular. 2009‑12‑09 22:57:32 2009 cases, Judgment available on Bailii, No summary, Southern Irish cases, Transcript, Unlawful detention cases

R (TF) v SSJ [2008] EWCA Civ 1457(1) Having found that the transfer direction under s47 was unlawful the judge erred by exercising her discretion to refuse relief: an unlawful detention cannot be transmuted into lawful detention by the withholding of relief. (2) A decision to transfer a prisoner to hospital at the end of his sentence deprives him of his liberty and engages Article 5, thus heightening the scrutiny as to the evidence the MoJ and court must apply, and putting the onus on the MoJ to show that the decision maker focused on each of the criteria. (3) Applying this scrutiny it would have been very difficult for the MoJ decision maker to be satisfied that the two reporting doctors had applied their minds to treatability, and it appeared that the decision maker herself had not applied her mind to that question; the decision was therefore unlawful. [Caution.] 2008‑12‑18 21:00:37 2008 cases, Brief summary, Judgment available on Bailii, Transcript, Unlawful detention cases

R (F) v SSJ [2008] EWHC 2912 (Admin)The medical opinions were based on old assessments and were at best ambigious as to the treatability test; so the decision to transfer under s47 MHA 1983 was Wednesbury unreasonable, and the subsequent detention was unlawful under domestic law and Article 5; (obiter) the decision would not have been ultra vires; based on subsequent reports, the decision would not be quashed, as if the defendant had sough to clarify the medical opinions the decision would have been lawful. [Caution.] 2008‑11‑28 18:01:23 2008 cases, Detailed summary, Judgment available on Bailii, Transcript, Unlawful detention cases

R (IT) v SSJ [2008] EWHC 1707 (Admin)Recall of patient unlawful where no new relevant information available to MoJ after discharge by MHRT; the element of the discharge plan requiring leave to be escorted was a temporary measure and so did not amount to continuing deprivation of liberty. 2008‑11‑03 16:41:04 2008 cases, Detailed summary, Discharge conditions cases, Judgment available on Bailii, Ministry of Justice cases, Transcript, Unlawful detention cases