December 2016 update

Website

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Case law

  • Contempt of court case. Devon County Council v Teresa Kirk [2016] EWCOP 42 — "This is an application made by a Local Authority for committal for contempt of court... The backdrop to this application is a long-running case in the Court of Protection concerning MM. ... The court went on to make declarations. Firstly, that MM lacked capacity. Secondly, that it was in his best interests to live in England, in the area of the South West. Thirdly, that it was not in his best interests to continue to reside at the care home in Portugal; and further ordered at para.7 that, no later than 4pm on 27 June 2016, Mrs. Kirk shall provide to the Local Authority a signed copy of the written declaration of authority... The short point about that provision in the order is that it provided for Mrs. Kirk to sign the written declaration of authority so that MM could be released to the local authority. The order had a penal notice attached to it, the recitals are very clear. ... I apply the criminal standard to the only breach with which I am concerned, which is as set out in the order. I am entirely satisfied and sure - indeed, it is accepted in the face of the court - that Mrs. Kirk has not provided the written declaration of authority... I shall pass a sentence of six months' imprisonment. However, I shall suspend the warrant for a period of seven days only to give Mrs Kirk one last chance to comply..."
  • Contempt of court case. Devon County Council v Teresa Kirk [2016] EWCA Civ 1221 — "In the circumstances of the present case, where a party was facing the likelihood of a prison sentence for contempt, but where that party, whom the court accepts had genuine and sincere objections to the welfare determination that had been made, had issued an application for permission to appeal that welfare determination, it was simply premature for the judge to press on with the committal application. The absence of an application for a stay of the order, where it is almost certain that a stay would have been granted pending receipt of the transcript of Baker J's judgment [the welfare determination], should not have been taken as justification for proceeding with the committal application. ... I end with a reminder to contemnors and their representatives of the availability of public funding. ... Whatever the limitations of civil funding, public funding in contempt cases is available under the criminal scheme. ...The effect of [a Court of Appeal decision] is that this covers all proceedings for contempt of court, whether criminal or civil in nature and whether arising in the context of criminal, civil or family proceedings. Because this is criminal public funding, it can be ordered by the court. ... In the same way, criminal public funding is available in this court."
  • Negligence case. Henderson v Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust [2016] EWHC 3275 (QB) — "On 25th August 2010 Ms Henderson ('the Claimant') stabbed her mother to death. She was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time, and her condition had recently worsened. It is common ground between the parties that this tragic event would not have happened but for the Defendant's breaches of duty in failing to respond in an appropriate way to the Claimant's mental collapse. The Claimant has now brought proceedings in the tort of negligence claiming general damages under various heads, special damages and future losses, and liability has been admitted. The Defendant's position is that all of the claims should be defeated on illegality or public policy grounds, and that binding authority of the Court of Appeal and House of Lords compels that outcome. ... In my view, there are three main questions for me to consider within the agenda circumscribed by the preliminary issue: (1) the correct interpretation of the sentencing remarks of Foskett J [in the Claimant's case], and the extent to which it is permissible, if at all, to go behind them; (2) whether there is binding authority of the Court of Appeal and House of Lords precluding some or all of these claims; and (3) if not, whether the law as accurately enunciated (there remains a dispute between the parties as to what it is) permits, or obviates, the maintenance of some or all of these claims. I frame the questions in this manner because it is the Defendant's submission that I am bound by the decision of the Court of Appeal in Clunis v Camden and Islington HA [1998] QB 978B and that of the House of Lords in Gray v Thames Trains Ltd [2009] 1 AC 1339B. If I were to uphold the Defendant's submission on stare decisis, the parties are agreed that I need not express a view on question (3) above on the hypothetical basis that I might be overruled. If, on the other hand, question (3) does properly arise for decision, the parties are agreed that the case should be listed for further argument on this point. ...I ... refuse to issue a certificate under section 12 of the Administration of Justice Act 1969. I also refuse permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal for the reason indicated under paragraphs 99 and 104 above."
  • Deprivation of liberty case. SSJ v Staffordshire County Council and SRK [2016] EWCA Civ 1317, [2016] MHLO 55 — "The issue in this case is whether, in order for the United Kingdom to avoid being in breach of Article 5(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights, it is necessary for a welfare order to be made by the Court of Protection pursuant to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in a case where an individual, who lacks the capacity to make decisions about where to live and the regime of care, treatment and support that he should receive, is to be given such care, treatment and support entirely by private sector providers in private accommodation in circumstances which, objectively, are a deprivation of his liberty within the meaning of Article 5(1) of the Convention."§
  • Medical treatment case. Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University LHB v RY [2016] EWCOP 57 — "On 12th October this year the applicant Health Board applied to this court for declarations both as to 'capacity' and 'best interests' under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, concerning RY, to permit withdrawal of ventilation, withholding of life-sustaining treatment, and provision of palliative care only. RY's daughter has from the beginning asserted that, when ventilation is removed, life-sustaining treatment should be provided. I am asked to approve an order filed with the consent of all the parties which provides for some life-sustaining treatment, but not CPR or further intensive care. ... However, there have been a number of recent videos taken of RY ... which have led [Dr Badwan] to conclude that RY is not in a vegetative state, but is in a minimally conscious state with some signs of being in upper minimally conscious state. ... This morning the very experienced advocates in this case presented a plan, by agreement, in which it was proposed that RY underwent a tracheostomy under general anaesthetic and, transferred to a suitable unit for further treatment and/or assessment. ... As a Judge sitting in the Court of Protection, I have experience of litigants seeking very extensive assessments and re-assessments, in a way that occurred in the Family Division in Children Act 1989 proceedings, most particularly in public law care proceedings. The reasons for both strike me as similar, namely that the decisions the Court is asked to make are of such great importance and carry such profound consequences that there is, I think, a forensic instinct to leave no stone unturned. I am bound to say however, that I sometimes feel that I am being asked to authorise a petrological survey on the upturned stone. Just as the Family Justice reforms have re-emphasised the real dangers to vulnerable children caused by avoidable delay, so to, it seems to me, practitioners in this field must recognise that delay which is not, on a true analysis, either constructive or purposeful is almost certainly damaging and thus inimical to P's welfare. Though avoidance of delay is not a statutory imperative in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 the principle is now so deeply embedded in the law of England and Wales and across every jurisdiction of law that it should be read into Court of Protection proceedings as a facet of Article 6 and 8 ECHR. It requires to be restated that the Court of Protection Rules provide for the Court to restrict expert evidence and assessment, application must be made by completing form COP9. ... Given the scale of the hypoxic damage, the preponderant evidence suggests that any significant improvement may be rather a forlorn hope. I think RY's family should be under no delusion as to the prospects. That 'flicker of hope', says the Official Solicitor, is one that should be pursued on RY's behalf. Ultimately, I have acceded to that submission but I do so on a very particular basis and that is that the assessment process, which has been outlined in framework this afternoon, is carefully monitored..."
  • Criminal appeal case. R v Fuller [2016] EWCA Crim 1867 — (1) IPP sentence quashed and replaced with a restricted hospital order. (2) Request for anonymisation refused.
  • Sex case (from 2014, but published on Bailii yesterday). R v GA [2014] EWCA Crim 299, [2014] MHLO 148 — "Section 1(2) of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides that 'A person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that he lacks capacity'. When capacity to consent is in issue in criminal proceedings, the burden of proving incapacity falls upon the party asserting it and will inevitably be the prosecution. We consider that, other than in criminal proceedings pursuant to section 44 of the Mental Capacity Act, the prosecution must discharge that burden to the criminal standard of proof; that is, they must make the jury sure that the complainant did not have capacity to consent. If the jury cannot be sure that the relevant complainant lacks capacity, then they must be directed to assume that he or she does. The issue for them then will be an examination of all the facts and circumstances to determine whether or not the complainant consented to the act or acts in question and whether the alleged assailant knew they did not consent or did not believe that they did so or were unreasonable in their belief that there was consent. In this particular case, expert evidence was led before the jury on the question of the complainant's capacity. It appears to us that it will inevitably be the case, if capacity is an issue, that an expert will be called to provide evidence which would not otherwise be within the common experience of the jury. It is vitally important that such evidence is 'expert', relevant and only deals with the matter in issue, namely capacity. Having read the transcript of the prosecution expert evidence in this case we regret to say that she exceeded her remit, particularly in articulating her own interpretation of the facts as to whether or not the complainant did consent. It is unfortunate that the witness was not adequately managed in the court process as a whole. What is more, it seems to us that the opinions expressed by the prosecution expert did not reflect the jurisprudence at the time. Therefore, even if not conceded we would have allowed the appeal being certain that decided that the jury's finding was unsafe on two grounds: (i) the judge adopted the wrong standard of proof in his directions to the jury in relation to the issue of capacity; and (ii) the expert evidence not fit for purpose to assist the jury to come to any conclusion at all as to the capacity of by the complainant to consent to sexual relations."§

Ministry of Justice

  • Ministry of Justice, 'The recall of conditionally discharged restricted patients' (4/2/09). See Recall#External links
  • Department of Health, 'Recall of mentally disordered patients subject to Home Office restrictions on discharge' (LAC(93)9, 14/4/93). See Recall#External links

Legal Aid Agency

  • Legal Aid forms page updated. This page has been updated, including with a link to the current Form CW1&2 (MH). See Legal Aid forms

Other documents

  • Ben Troke, 'Court of Protection and deprivation of liberty update - a "perfect storm" coming?' (Browne Jacobson website, 15/12/16). See Newsletters#Browne Jacobson
  • Healthy London Partnership, 'Mental health crisis care for Londoners: London's section 136 pathway and Health Based Place of Safety specification' (December 2016). See MHA 1983 s136#External links

Events

  • Edge Training: MCA and Tenancy Agreements - London, 24/2/17No results
  • Edge Training: Hoarding and the Law - London, 8/5/17No results
  • Edge Training: DOL in children and young people - London, 15/5/17No results
  • Edge Training: DOLS Authorised Signatories - London, 26/5/17No results
  • Edge Training: Hoarding and the Law - London, 6/10/17No results

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