GP v Derby City Council [2012] EWHC 1451 (Admin), [2012] MHLO 58

The claimant applied for a writ of habeas corpus, challenging the AMHP's decision not to consult the nearest relative (under s11) before making a s3 application. The AMHP's evidence was that, having tried to telephone the NR on five or six occasions, he dispensed with consultation because nursing staff were anxious about the patient's presentation and needed him on s3 to move him to a psychiatric intensive care unit. (1) The question which arises on an application of this sort is whether the AMHP's decision was plainly wrong, or whether it was within the range of appropriate decisions available. (2) In the circumstances his decision was unlawful, in particular because: (a) the notes showed that the claimant had essentially been stable (and, in the event, had not been transferred to the PICU for over two weeks after the s3 began); and (b) the s3 assessment finished about 4.30pm and the s2 was due to expire at midnight, so to drive about 30 minutes to the NR's house would not have taken a disproportionate amount of time. (3) The judge added that: (a) the position would have been different if admission to the PICU would only be possible if the patient were on s3, and if there had been a spiralling and acute deterioration of condition coupled with evidence of significant risk to nursing staff, and (b) s11 provides constitutional protection for those that are faced with detention under the Mental Health Act and there is a heavy duty on those who carry out these tasks to ensure that those statutory provisions are complied with.


Judgment: 27/4/12

Before: HHJ Pelling QC

Mr Sachdeva (instructed by Cartwright King) appeared on behalf of the Claimant

Mr Burrows (instructed by Derby City Council) appeared on behalf of the Defendant

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