December 2015 update

Case law

Upper Tribunal

  • Upper Tribunal case. AM v Partnerships in Care Ltd [2015] UKUT 659 (AAC), [2015] MHLO 106The First-tier Tribunal, on the basis of their finding that the patient had committed two rapes, refused to discharge because sexual understanding and treatment work had not been undertaken. The Upper Tribunal held: (1) The tribunal had made a mistake of fact which undermined its conclusion as to the rapes, which was a fundamental error in the light of which the tribunal’s decision not to discharge could not stand. (2) The tribunal’s decision was made in error of law because of its failure to take into account relevant considerations. It had not scrutinised the evidence carefully or addressed features of the evidence which may cast doubt on the allegations; rather, the reasons gave the impression that, having found that AM lacked credibility generally, the tribunal simply and illogically accepted that the rape allegations were true because they were viewed as credible at the time. (3) A decision as to risk must involve findings of fact, not merely suspicion that an act was done which would be indicative of risk. Although the discharge criteria involve mixed questions of fact and judgement or evaluation, the judgement or evaluation of what is likely to occur must be based on fact. The next tribunal may consider that there are relevant facts other than the alleged rapes.§

Forced marriage

  • Forced marriage case. London Borough of Southwark v P [2015] EWCOP 40, [2015] MHLO 113 — "This is an application made both in the Court of Protection and for a Forced Marriage Protection order in the High Court (Family Division). ... I am of the view that the quickest way to deal with this is for me to list the matter for a further one day hearing shortly after the date on which the capacity report is completed. ... I consider that the existing orders should be discharged on the basis of an undertaking by the parents, R and A, that they are not to facilitate, allow or otherwise permit P to undergo any ceremony or purported ceremony of marriage, civil partnership, betrothal or engagement; or from entering into any arrangement in relation to the engagement or matrimony, whether by civil or religious ceremony, of P whether within English jurisdiction or outside it. They are also to undertake not to instruct, encourage or suggest to any other person to do so. They are to undertake not to take him to Bangladesh prior to the next hearing. On that basis I will discharge the forced marriage protection injunction."§
  • Forced marriage case. Re RS (Forced Marriage Protection Order) [2015] EWHC 3534 (Fam), [2015] MHLO 105 — "The identified questions for this hearing are whether: (i) RS had mental capacity to marry at the date of his marriage to W; and if not; (ii) whether the court should exercise its power under the inherent jurisdiction to declare that the marriage is not recognised as valid in England and Wales as a precursor to the initiation of formal proceedings to annul the marriage."§


  • Medical case. King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust v C [2015] EWCOP 80, [2015] MHLO 125 — "The question in this difficult and finely balanced case is whether C has the capacity to decide whether or not to consent to the life saving treatment that her doctors wish to give her following her attempted suicide, namely renal dialysis. Without such treatment the almost inevitable outcome will be the death of C. If the treatment is administered the likelihood is that it will save C's life, albeit that there remains an appreciable and increasing possibility that C will be left requiring dialysis for the rest of her life. C now refuses to consent to dialysis and much of the treatment associated with it. ... For the reasons set out above I am not satisfied on the evidence before the court that the Trust has established on the balance of probabilities that C lacks capacity to decide whether or not to accept treatment by way of dialysis. ... [A] capacitous individual is entitled to decide whether or not to accept treatment from his or her doctor. The right to refuse treatment extends to declining treatment that would, if administered, save the life of the patient and, accordingly, a capacitous patient may refuse treatment even in circumstances where that refusal will lead to his or her death. The decision C has reached to refuse dialysis can be characterised as an unwise one. That C considers that the prospect of growing old, the fear of living with fewer material possessions and the fear that she has lost, and will not regain, 'her sparkle' outweighs a prognosis that signals continued life will alarm and possibly horrify many, although I am satisfied that the ongoing discomfort of treatment, the fear of chronic illness and the fear of lifelong treatment and lifelong disability are factors that also weigh heavily in the balance for C. C's decision is certainly one that does not accord with the expectations of many in society. Indeed, others in society may consider C's decision to be unreasonable, illogical or even immoral within the context of the sanctity accorded to life by society in general. None of this however is evidence of a lack of capacity. The court being satisfied that, in accordance with the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, C has capacity to decide whether or not to accept treatment C is entitled to make her own decision on that question based on the things that are important to her, in keeping with her own personality and system of values and without conforming to society's expectation of what constitutes the 'normal' decision in this situation (if such a thing exists). As a capacitous individual C is, in respect of her own body and mind, sovereign."§
  • Medical case. Surrey And Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust v Ms AB [2015] EWCOP 50, [2015] MHLO 121 — "This is an application by the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust for the court to give permission for the respondent, Ms AB, undergoing an above the knee amputation of her left leg. ... On the basis of the agreed psychiatric evidence, which I accepted, I was satisfied that Ms AB lacks the capacity to make a decision about her medical treatment and surgery. ... I am completely satisfied that, very sadly, the only best interests decision I can make is to give permission for the above knee amputation of Ms AB's left leg to be undertaken. I approve the use of reasonable restraint before, during and subsequent to surgery as is necessary to safeguard and protect her, including sedation. Further, I authorise the deprivation of her liberty insofar as it is necessary to perform the procedure."§
  • Medical case. St George's Healthcare NHS Trust v P and Q [2015] EWCOP 42, [2015] MHLO 115 — "On 20 January 2015 the Health Trust responsible for his care made an application seeking declarations in this very serious medical case. They seek declarations: (i) That he lacks capacity (this is uncontentious); (ii) That it is not in his best interests to receive cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event of cardiac arrest (this is also now uncontentious); and (iii) As to whether it is lawful to continue to provide renal replacement therapy (RRT), the Trust wish to discontinue life sustaining treatment with the inexorable and inevitable consequence that as a result P would quickly die. ... There is almost nothing to rebut the very strong presumption that it is in P's best interests to stay alive. I order and direct that the renal replacement therapy should continue. ... The application was launched, it might be thought, somewhat precipitously, before any SMART testing had been undertaken. ... Therefore in all cases where there is any question of doubt about diagnosis, in order to eliminate mistakes or potential tragedies it is essential that those assessments [such as SMART or WHIM] are carried out in good time so that the diagnosis is clear before the Court, then the Court can conduct its own enquiry and balance."§

International protection of adults

  • International protection of adults case. Health Service Executive of Ireland v PA [2015] EWCOP 38, [2015] MHLO 107 — "I turn to the specific orders in these three cases. In each case, I conclude that the individual – PA, PB and PC – is an adult within the meaning of paragraph 4 of the Schedule. I conclude that each is habitually resident in the Republic of Ireland. Having considered the orders of the Irish Court, and the provisions in each order that amount to "protective measures" within the meaning of Schedule 3, (including, in each case, the provision that each individual shall be placed and detained at St Andrew's and the various ancillary orders to facilitate and support the placement and detention), I conclude that there are no grounds for refusing to recognise the measures under paragraph 19(3) or (4). I conclude in each case that the individual was given a proper opportunity to be heard for the purposes of paragraph 19(3)(b); that in each case the individual – PA, PB and PC – satisfies the criteria for detention under Article 5(1)(e), namely the Winterwerp criteria; that the orders of the Irish Court demonstrate that each will be afforded a regular right of review of his or her detention so as to comply with the ongoing requirements of Article 5(4); that as a result recognising and enforcing the orders will not contravene the ECHR; that the measures in each case are not inconsistent with any other mandatory provision of the law of England and Wales; and that the measures cannot be said to be manifestly contrary to public policy. I shall therefore make the orders declaring that the protective measures in the said orders shall be recognised in England and Wales and enforced in this jurisdiction."§


  • Deputyship case. Re JW [2015] EWCOP 82, [2015] MHLO 126 — "This began as an application by a family member to be appointed as a joint deputy for property and affairs with the existing deputy, East Sussex County Council. When it became apparent that the Council was unwilling to act jointly with him, the applicant revised his application and asked the court to remove the Council as deputy and to appoint him in its place. ... I propose to allow Geoffrey's revised application and shall appoint him as Joan's deputy in place of East Sussex County Council. My main reason for appointing him is that I think it would be sensible to repair and renovate the house in Hailsham that Joan inherited from her daughter Daphne so that it can be sold to best advantage, and I am prepared to give it a try. ... Zena Boniface concluded her witness statement by saying that: 'ESCC feel that it would be a conflict of interest for Geoffrey to be appointed deputy, as he stands to make a financial gain from the cost of the building works to his late sister's property and the reimbursement of his time and travel costs in dealing with her estate.' It was entirely reasonable of her to voice this concern and it merits a detailed response. ... I propose to control the conflict between Geoffrey's interests and Joan's by providing the following appropriate and effective safeguards to prevent abuse: ..."§
  • Deputyship case. Re AS [2015] EWCOP 79, [2015] MHLO 124 — "This is YB's application to be appointed as AS's deputy for property and affairs in place of the existing deputy, the London Borough of Islington. ... I have decided to maintain the status quo and to dismiss this application."§
  • Deputyship case. Re FT [2015] EWCOP 49, [2015] MHLO 120 — "This is an application for reconsideration of an order made by an authorised court officer appointing two of FT's daughters as his deputies for property and affairs. ... In my judgment, the factor of magnetic importance in this case is that FT named MA and PB to be the executors of his last will ... Accordingly, pursuant to rule 89(5), I affirm the order made on 2 September 2014 appointing the respondents [MA and PB] jointly and severally to act as FT's deputies for property and affairs. ... Costs ... I am singularly unimpressed with the applicants' conduct. Having made the application, they failed to follow it through. ... This is a case in which a departure from the general rule is justified. ... [T]he fact that [DC's] husband is in receipt of ESA and that she has claimed an exemption from the fees, doesn't grant her immunity from an order for costs being made against her. I intend to make an order that the costs are to be assessed on the standard basis and paid by DC, ST and TT in equal shares, and that the deputies are authorised to make an interest-free loan to the applicants from KT's funds to pay the costs, and that the loan will be repayable by the applicants from their respective shares of FT's estate on his death."§
  • Deputyship case. GN v Newland [2015] EWCOP 43, [2015] MHLO 116 — "This is an application for reconsideration of an order made on the papers by an authorised court officer ('ACO'). An ACO is not a judge of the Court of Protection, but a civil servant, who, in most cases, has considerable experience of the court's practice and procedure and is authorised to make a number of specified decisions on the non-contentious property and affairs side of the court's business. Over 90% of the applications to the court involve non-contentious property and financial matters, and can potentially be dealt with by an ACO. ... I dismiss GN's application to be appointed as his mother's deputy for three reasons. First, he is the bane of her life and she wants nothing to do with him. Secondly, he would be unable to act fairly and competently on her behalf because he has an interest in her property, which is adverse to hers, and on which he is unwilling to enter into any compromise. And thirdly, I am satisfied that, having regard to all the relevant circumstances, Julia Newland's appointment as her deputy for property and affairs is in CN's best interests. There is no one more suitable who is willing or able to act, and the purpose for which the appointment is required cannot be as effectively achieved in a way that is less restrictive of CN's rights and freedom of action."§
  • Deputyship case. Ross v A [2015] EWCOP 46, [2015] MHLO 118 — "This is an application by a professional deputy for an order authorising him to apply approximately £17,000 a year from A's damages award towards the payment of her brother's school fees. ... In my judgment, it is in A's best interests for the court to authorise the deputy to pay B's school fees (past, present and future) from her funds ... This judgment is tailored to A's circumstances and should not be construed as an imprimatur for the payment of siblings' school fees from damages awards in other cases."§


  • LPA case. Re CMW: Public Guardian v AM [2015] EWCOP 86, [2015] MHLO 130 — "This is an application by the Public Guardian to revoke a Lasting Power of Attorney ('LPA') for property and affairs. ... I am satisfied that Carla lacks capacity to revoke the LPA herself. ... I am also satisfied that the respondent has behaved in a way that contravenes his authority and is not in the donor's best interests. He has broken virtually every rule in the book and, having exhausted his mother's funds in order to meet his "life's requirements at that time", he blithely expects the taxpayers of Surrey to pick up the tab to meet his mother's care needs now. I have no hesitation in revoking the LPA and directing the Public Guardian to cancel its registration. I shall make a separate order appointing Michael Stirton as Carla's deputy for property and affairs."§
  • EPA case. Re WP (deceased) and EP [2015] EWCOP 84, [2015] MHLO 129 — "This is an application by two attorneys acting jointly under two separate Enduring Powers of Attorney for the retrospective approval of monthly payments of £150 each that they have made to themselves and to their sister from the donors' funds. ... This application is a composite claim for the payment of an allowance of £150 per month to each attorney in respect of three distinct heads of claim, and I shall deal with these heads of claim in the following order: (1) travelling expenses; (2) remuneration for acting as attorneys; and (3) a 'gratuitous' care allowance. I would prefer not to be cornered into approving any particular mileage rate. If the Public Guardian wishes to give guidance on such matters, that's up to him. What I shall say is simply by way of general observation. ... In my judgment, the business mileage rates quoted by HMRC [45 pence for every business mile for the first 10,000 miles and 25 pence for every business mile thereafter] should be substantially discounted to reflect the fact that these are not 'business' rates but domestic rates. When dealing with the affairs of an elderly and incapacitated relative, attorneys are generally expected to act out of common decency and not to profit from their position. ... I do not propose to allow them any specific remuneration for the actual management of their parents' property and financial affairs. ... I am satisfied in Theresa's case that the care support she provides and the travelling expenses she incurs merit the payment of a sum of £150 a month from her parents' funds. Stephen does slightly less than his sister Theresa in terms of care support, but has to travel a greater distance to perform these functions and, on balance, I am satisfied that he too should continue to pay himself a composite allowance of £150 a month in respect of travelling expenses and care support."§
  • LPA case. Re OL [2015] EWCOP 41, [2015] MHLO 114 — "This is an application by the Public Guardian for the court to revoke a Lasting Power of Attorney ('LPA') for property and financial affairs because the attorneys have used their power carelessly and irresponsibly. I am satisfied that the attorneys have behaved in a way that contravenes their authority or is not in the donor's best interests. ... Their failure to keep accounts of the transactions carried out on the donor's behalf or to produce any record of her income and expenditure would alone be sufficient to warrant the revocation of their appointment. However, in this case both attorneys, and in particular DA, have compounded their culpability by taking colossal advantage of their position and obtaining personal benefits far in excess of the limited power that attorneys have to make gifts of the donor's property under section 12 of the Mental Capacity Act. DA has also failed to keep the donor's money and property interests separate from her own interests in respect of the property she owns in South Norwood. ... I propose to appoint a panel deputy and authorise them to take such steps as are necessary or expedient to restore OL's estate so far as possible to the position in which it would have been before the attorneys began acting so recklessly and irresponsibly. In view of the attorneys' conduct, I consider that a departure from the general rule as to costs in property and affairs proceedings is justified and shall make no order as to costs."§
  • EPA case. Re P [2015] EWCOP 37, [2015] MHLO 111 — "This is an application by the Public Guardian for an order revoking an Enduring Power of Attorney ('EPA') on the grounds that, having regard to all the circumstances, H is unsuitable to be his wife's attorney. ... Therefore, having regard to all the circumstances, I am satisfied that H is unsuitable to be P's attorney and I shall by order revoke the EPA. I shall also make a separate order appointing S and D jointly and severally to be P's deputies for property and affairs."§

Other Court of Protection cases

  • COP costs case. Somerset v MK [2015] EWCOP B1, [2015] MHLO 131 — "In the light of all of this it seems to me that this is plainly a case where the usual order for costs should be departed from to the extent that the Local Authority should pay the costs of all of the other parties involved. The other matter that I should deal with is whether those payments should be on an indemnity basis. ... I am very conscious of the impact of such an order. However, in that same case of G v E [2010] EWHC 3385 (Fam) Mr Justice Baker considered that the local authority's conduct amounted to 'a significant degree of unreasonableness' giving rise to a liability for costs on an indemnity basis. If one reads my judgment in full it is clear that that there was in this case as well a significant degree of unreasonableness both in the Local Authority's approach to the substantive and procedural issues in the case. In those circumstances it seems to me that the argument for indemnity costs is an overwhelming one in this case and that is the order that I intend to make here."§
  • Best interests/DOL case. Somerset v MK [2014] EWCOP B25, [2014] MHLO 146 — "What I intend to do in it is to set out the history of the case and then of the litigation. Then I will deal with the factual issues upon which I have been asked by the local authority to make findings. I will then deal with the central issue in the case, that of where in her best interests should (P), the subject of this application, live. Next I will consider the conduct of the local authority and make findings on the issues as to whether P had been wrongly deprived of her liberty and, if she had, how long did that go on for; and finally what, if any, lessons can be learned from this case. ... These findings illustrate a blatant disregard of the process of the MCA and a failure to respect the rights of both P and her family under the ECHR. In fact it seems to me that it is worse than that, because here the workers on the ground did not just disregard the process of the MCA they did not know what the process was and no one higher up the structure seems to have advised them correctly about it."§
  • Reporting restrictions order case. V v Associated Newspapers Ltd [2015] EWCOP 88, [2015] MHLO 128 — "I do not propose to say very much in this judgment. The reason I do not propose to say very much is that I am pleased to report that the media respondents have indicated to me that they would wish to put in some further evidence relating to the public interest in identifying C. They would also wish to (and I can understand why they would wish to) put in evidence relating to criticism of an approach by a journalist employed by one of them. Additionally and, to my mind, importantly, they also wish to take the opportunity, if so advised, to put in evidence and/or representations on more general points concerning the mechanics and principles that arise in respect of Court of Protection proceedings that the court directs are to be heard in public and in respect of which the court makes some form of reporting restriction order or anonymity order. ... In those circumstances, it seems to me that it is inevitably appropriate to continue the injunction until 4.30 on the day I hand down judgment. The indication from the Bar is that there will be no need for further oral submissions."§
  • Reporting restrictions order case. V v Associated Newspapers Ltd [2015] EWCOP 83, [2015] MHLO 127 — "MacDonald J ... concluded C did have capacity to refuse the treatment and dismissed the application by the Hospital Trust. C, sadly, died on 28 November 2015. ... I was notified at about 5.45 pm on 2 December 2015 that an application was likely to be made by Mr Vikram Sachdeva Q.C. on behalf of C's daughter, V, for the RRO to be extended after C's death. ... There is no issue between the parties that the court has jurisdiction to extend a RRO in these circumstances. ... I concluded the RRO should be extended for 7 days to enable an effective inter partes hearing to take place."§
  • Best interests case. Re AG [2015] EWCOP 78, [2015] MHLO 123 — "This is an appeal from an order of His Honour Judge Rogers, sitting as a nominated judge of the Court of Protection. Judge Rogers was considering the appropriate welfare arrangements for AG, a young woman born in October 1985. ... DG's grounds of appeal dated 22 September 2013 identify four grounds of appeal. It is said that Judge Rogers: (a) erred in not conducting an adequate assessment of AG's capacity; (b) failed to make findings of fact in relation to the events in 2011 that had triggered the proceedings; (c) made a decision as to where AG should live which by September 2013 was a fait accompli; and (d) acted in breach of Article 8 in directing that DG's contact with AG should be, as it is put, 'heavily' supervised. It is apparent from her counsel's very helpful skeleton arguments ... that the major thrust of DG's case relates to ground (b). ... For these reasons each of DG's grounds of appeal fails. ... Ms Khalique submits, and I am inclined to agree, that the local authority acted unlawfully in removing AG from OG in November 2011 and placing her at HH without having first obtained judicial sanction. Local authorities must seek and obtain appropriate judicial authority before moving an incapacitous adult from their home into other accommodation. Local authorities do not themselves have power to do this. Local authorities also need to appreciate and take appropriate steps to minimise the understandable distress and anger caused to someone in DG's position when initial relief is obtained from the court on the basis of allegations which are not thereafter pursued."§
  • Gratuitous care allowance review case. Re HNL: ATL v Public Guardian [2015] EWCOP 77, [2015] MHLO 122 — "This is an application regarding the payment of a gratuitous care allowance. To describe the allowance as 'gratuitous' is slightly incongruous, as it is a payment towards the cost of maintenance of a close relative, who provides care and case management services to someone who is severely incapacitated because of an impairment of, or a disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain. ... The Public Guardian is currently reviewing all gratuitous care allowances paid by deputies to family members, particularly in cases where the person to whom the proceedings relate has been awarded damages for clinical negligence or personal injury. Because the number of families who are receiving allowances of this kind and are affected by the Public Guardian's review runs into thousands, I have concluded that it would be in the public interest to publish this judgment. ... Having regard to all the circumstances, therefore, I am satisfied that it is in Helen's best interests for Adrian to continue to provide care and case management services to her and that until further order he should be paid an allowance of £23,000 a year, tax-free in accordance with ESM4016. Even though Adrian has not specifically requested it, I propose to give him the option of index-linking future payments of the allowance. ... I understand that the Public Guardian will shortly be issuing a practice note on gratuitous care payments. ... In our initial discussions, the OPG suggested that these payments should be reviewed regularly. However, a review process of this kind is not cheap and, inevitably, it will have a knock-on effect on the amounts sought by claimants in respect of Court of Protection costs in future claims for damages for personal injury and clinical negligence. ... In Helen's case, because of the wide gulf between the commercial value of the services Adrian is providing and the actual payment he is receiving, I consider that it would be disproportionate to go through this process too frequently, and I suggest that Adrian's gratuitous care allowance should be formally reviewed again in 2022 or earlier, if necessary, because of a change in his or Helen's circumstances."§
  • Neutral citation added for deprivation of liberty case. Re MOD (Deprivation of Liberty) [2015] EWCOP 47, [2015] MHLO 48Nine cases which had been issued under the Re X streamlined procedure were listed for directions before DJ Marin. (1) One case (ML) would require a best interests hearing so never really belonged in the Re X procedure, but orders under the Re X procedure would or would potentially have been made in the other cases. (2) The Court of Appeal in Re X had (obiter, and without referring to new rule 3A) decided that P should be a party in every deprivation of liberty case. (3) Party status would entail the need for a litigation friend but, except for an IMCA in one case (MOD), no-one suitable had been identified: (a) in most of these cases, the family may be said to have an adverse interest to the person concerned; (b) there must be a question in every case as to whether family members have the required expertise; (c) the Official Solicitor refused to act as his COP Health & Welfare team was already "fire-fighting" at an unsustainable level owing to budgetary constraints; (d) IMCAs in one borough refused to act without indemnity insurance, which it was hoped would be in place by the end of 2016. (4) The result was that none of these cases could proceed, and neither could hundreds and potentially thousands of others: the judge said he "cannot think of a more serious situation to have faced a court in recent legal history". (5) These cases were transferred to the Vice President of the COP (Charles J) to decide on the following issues: (a) whether P must be joined as a party in a case involving deprivation of liberty; (b) whether the appointment of a rule 3A representative is sufficient in a case involving deprivation of liberty; (c) if P must be joined as a party, in the absence of any suitable person to act as litigation friend, what should be done in circumstances where the Official Solicitor cannot accept an invitation to act; (d) whether a family member can act as litigation friend in circumstances where that family member has an interest in the outcome of the proceedings; (e) whether other deprivation of liberty cases not before the court on this occasion but which raise similar issues to this case should be stayed pending a determination of the issues recorded at paragraphs (a) to (d). (6) The Official Solicitor was ordered to file and serve a statement which would: (a) provide a full and evidence-based explanation of why he cannot cope with the number of deprivation of liberty applications in which he is invited to act as litigation friend; (b) explain in full detail providing evidence where appropriate as to which areas or processes cause him difficulty and why; (c) inform the court when he expects to be able to cope with deprivation of liberty cases and the likely time scale in which he can start work on a case; (d) provide any other information to the court what will assist the court to make decisions in this case regarding the position of the Official Solicitor. (7) The court refused to approve deprivations of liberty on an interim basis ..→§
  • Best interests case. Dorset County Council v PL [2015] EWCOP 44, [2015] MHLO 117 — "The Applicant council seeks declarations that: (a) it is in PL’s best interests to move to ‘OL’, a care home in Lincolnshire, after a period of transition; and (b) it is in PL’s best interests to have restricted and supervised contact with his mother AL at an off-site location. ... The issues for the court to determine were where PL should live, more particularly OL or CC and with whom he should have contact, again more particularly whether contact with AL should be restricted and supervised and take place at an off-site location."§
  • Deprivation of liberty case. Bournemouth Borough Council v PS [2015] EWCOP 39, [2015] MHLO 112 — "In this case I have to decide (i) whether the package of care provided to BS ('Ben') is in his best interests; (ii) whether that package amounts to a deprivation of liberty within the terms of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights 1950; and (iii) what contact Ben should have to his mother, the first respondent. ... In the circumstances, in what I suppose will be one of the last orders of its kind to be made, I directed that Ben be discharged as a party. I was wholly satisfied that his voice has been fully heard through the IMCA Katie Turner. Further, in relation to the question of deprivation of liberty, all relevant submissions have been fully put on both sides of the argument by counsel for the applicant and the first respondent. There was no dispute between the applicant and the first respondent concerning issues (i) and (iii). The argument was centrally about the question of deprivation of liberty. ... I cannot say that I know that Ben is being detained by the state when I look at his position. Far from it. I agree with Mr Mullins that he is not. First, he is not under continuous supervision. He is afforded appreciable privacy. Second, he is free to leave. Were he to do so his carers would seek to persuade him to return but such persuasion would not cross the line into coercion. The deprivation of liberty line would only be crossed if and when the police exercised powers under the Mental Health Act. Were that to happen then a range of reviews and safeguards would become operative. But up to that point Ben is a free man. In my judgment, on the specific facts in play here, the acid test is not met. Ben is not living in a cage, gilded or otherwise. ... I do not criticise this local authority in the slightest for bringing this case. In the light of the decision of the Supreme Court local authorities have to err on the side of caution and bring every case, however borderline, before the court. For if they do not, and a case is later found to be one of deprivation of liberty, there may be heavy damages claims (and lawyers' costs) to pay. I remain of the view that the matter needs to be urgently reconsidered by the Supreme Court."§
  • Best interests/deputyship case. Re X [2015] EWCOP 36, [2015] MHLO 110 — "These proceedings are concerned with X, a young man of 25 who currently lives in a care home. They began as an application by his mother, AY (who is his appointed welfare deputy and has acted throughout without the benefit of legal representation), in respect of his prescribed medication. X was subsequently detained under the Mental Health Act and the issues before the Court were redefined to address AY's concerns as to X's physical health (in particular, the condition of his bowels) and whether the treatment she supported, in the form of dietary exclusion and supplements, fell within the powers of the Mental Health Act or the authority of her deputyship. In the course of proceedings, X has been discharged from detention under the Mental Health Act and the parties have been able to agree a community placement for him, where he is now settled. The issues which remain for the determination of the Court relate to his best interests in relation to diet and whether the welfare deputyship (which is currently suspended) should be restored or discharged. In determining those issues, the Court is asked to reach a series of findings of fact."§

Other cases

  • Judicial review case. R (Dyer) v Welsh Ministers [2015] EWHC 3712 (Admin), [2015] MHLO 109 — "In this claim, the Claimant challenges an alleged failure by the public authorities responsible for the National Health Service in Wales to discharge the duty imposed upon them by section 3(1) of the National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006 to provide hospital accommodation 'throughout Wales, to such extent as they consider necessary to meet all reasonable requirements'. In particular, she contends that the duty has been breached because no decision has been taken by any authority as to either (i) the 'reasonable requirements' of women in Wales with ASD and LD for secure in-patient assessment and treatment; or (ii) the level of provision necessary to meet the reasonable requirements found to exist. Indeed, the relevant authorities have not only failed to make those decisions, it is said that they have failed to collate the information required to make them; and so they are not even in a position to make properly informed (and, therefore, lawful) decisions. That is the legal basis of the claim. However, the concern of the Claimant and her family underlying the claim is more personal and practical in nature. The last time the Claimant required compulsory detention on account of her mental condition was in August 2014 when, because there was no appropriate and available facility in Wales, she was sent to a hospital in Brighton where she was detained for some weeks. ... However, this court can intervene only if a decision-making authority has acted unlawfully. For the reasons I have given, none of the Defendants has done so in this case."§
  • Forfeiture rule case. Henderson v Wilcox [2015] EWHC 3469 (Ch), [2015] MHLO 108 — "The claimant in this case is Ian Henderson. Ian's mother, Mrs Lillian Henderson, died on 2 April 2013 as a result of injuries sustained in a severe assault on her by Ian on the night of 13 March 2013. Ian was convicted of manslaughter at a trial on 15 September 2014, his plea of guilty to that charge and not guilty to murder having been accepted on the basis that he had not intended to kill his mother or cause her really serious injury. He was sentenced (with the agreement of the prosecution) to be detained in hospital under section 37 Mental Health Act 1983, the judge being satisfied that he suffered from a mental disorder such as to make his detention and treatment in hospital appropriate (section 37 (2)), coupled with a restriction order made under section 47 of that Act in order to prevent the public from serious harm if he should be at large. ... Mrs Henderson's will made in 2006 left her entire estate to Ian if he survived her, but it is accepted that by virtue of his having caused her death by his own criminal act prima facie Ian is excluded from benefitting under the will under the common law rule known as the 'forfeiture rule'. The court however has power to modify the application of that rule in certain circumstances pursuant to the Forfeiture Act 1982, and Ian brings this claim seeking, principally, an order under that Act that permits him to inherit his mother's estate."§


  • Alex Ruck Keene, 'Court of Protection Rules as of 1st July 2015 (unofficial version)' (Court of Protection Handbook Blog, 11/3/15). See Court of Protection Rules 2007

Mental Health Tribunal

  • Mark Hinchliffe, 'Seasons Greetings' (17/12/15). This emailed Christmas card incorporates the following exhortation: "It is a legal requirement that all reports must fully comply with the Senior President’s Practice Direction: Statements and Reports in Mental Health Cases ... There is a separate list for each type of case, and each professional discipline. Professionals should print off and laminate or keep safely those lists that relate to their discipline and keep them in their office so that, in future, all reports are submitted on time, and comply with the law. Under rule 15(2)(b) the tribunal can exclude any report that does not comply with the Senior President’s Practice Direction." (original emphasis). See Mental Health Tribunal#Messages from Deputy Chamber President

Law Society

Law Commission

Department of Health

Legal Aid Agency

  • Legal Aid Agency, 'Headline Intentions for alignment of civil face to face contracts in 2018' (5/11/15). In order to bring all face-to-face civil contracts (except mediation) to the same start date, the LAA plan to extend some contracts (including mental health) to 31 March 2015 and to end others (including public law) early on the same date. See Legal Aid#2014 Contract

Care Quality Commission

  • CQC, 'Monitoring the Mental Health Act in 2014/15' (10/12/15). Overview: "There are 57 mental health NHS trusts and 86 independent mental health hospitals registered with CQC. Throughout the year we visit these services to interview patients and review practice. During 2014/15, 51% of all mental health inpatients were subject to the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) with 19,656 detained inpatients on 31 March 2015. We carried out 1,292 MHA visits, meeting over 5,900 patients to discuss how the MHA and its Code of Practice were being applied to them. Our Second Opinion Appointed Doctors also made 14,375 visits to patients in hospital and the community and we received 227 notifications following the death of people detained in hospital." Findings (headings from Summary chapter): (1) There is unacceptable variation in the way providers are applying the Code of Practice; (2) Providers are failing to make sure patients receive the support they need to be involved in their care; (3) Greater priority needs to be given to deaths in detention; (4) Providers must manage and monitor their use of the MHA better; (5) Understanding and improving the way the Mental Health Act is being applied for patients must be a priority for all. See Care Quality Commission#CQC - Reports on MHA
  • Care Quality Commission, 'Monitoring the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards in 2014/15' (4/12/15). Key findings: (1) There has been a tenfold rise in Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards applications in 2014/15; (2) Providers’ use of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards is variable; (3) Improvement is needed across the health and social care sector. See Care Quality Commission#CQC - DOLS



  • National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, 'Annual Report: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales' (22/7/15). Extract from website: "Our Annual Report 2015 report, which presents findings from 2003 to 2013, highlights areas of healthcare where safety should be strengthened. Key messages include: (1) The rise in suicide among male mental health patients appears to be greater than in the general population - suicide prevention in middle aged males should be seen as a suicide prevention priority. (2) It is in the safety of crisis resolution/home treatment that current bed pressures are being felt – the safe use of these services should be monitored; providers and commissioners (England) should review their acute care services. (3) Opiates are now the most common substance used in overdose – clinicians should be aware of the potential risks from opiate-containing painkillers and patients’ access to these drugs. (4) Families and carers are a vital but under-used resource in mental health care – with the agreement of service users, closer working with families would have safety benefits. (5) Good physical health care may help reduce risk in mental health patients – patients’ physical and mental health care needs should be addressed by mental health teams together with patients’ GPs. (6) Sudden death among younger in-patients continues to occur, with no fall – these deaths should always be investigated; physical health should be assessed on admission and polypharmacy avoided." Other related documents are available, including a press release and an infographics sheet. See National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness
  • Link to MAPPA website added. Extract from website: "This site provides professionals and the public with information on how sexual and violent offenders are managed in the community." See MAPPA
  • Emma Goodall and Paul Wilkins, 'The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards: A Best Interest Assessor Time Study' (Cornwall Council, November 2015). The average time taken per DOLS assessment by the 507 respondents to this survey is 12.1 hours. See Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards#Other links


  • Job advert. Campbell Law Solicitors in Newport Pagnell are recruiting for a Mental Health Tribunal caseworker. Closing date 31/1/16. For further information, see Jobs


  • MBL Seminars: Community Care Conference 2016 - London, 23/2/16.No results See Events


Website and CPD

  • Mental Health Law Online CPD scheme: 12 points for £60. Obtain 12 CPD points online by answering monthly questionnaires. The scheme is an ideal way to obtain your necessary hours, or to evidence your continued competence. It also helps to support the continued development of this website, and your subscriptions (and re-subscriptions) are appreciated. For full details and to subscribe, see CPD scheme.