May 2009 update


Other documents

  • DH published "Independent mental health advocates: supplementary guidance on access to patient records under section 130B of the Mental Health Act 1983" today. Information which would not be disclosed to the patient under the DPA should be disclosed to the IMHA. See Independent Mental Health Advocates
  • Lists of supervisory body contact details last updated 19/5/09. See DOLS
  • The Ministry of Justice published "Access to Justice: a review of the existing evidence of the experiences of adults with mental health problems". See Ministry of Justice
  • DH published the Bradley Report (Lord Bradley's review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the criminal justice system) on 30/4/09. See Department of Health


  • April 2009's CPD questionnaire available for subscribers. Earn 12 CPD credits for £50 - see CPD scheme


2009 cases

  • Re OT [2009] EWHC 633 (Fam)OT, a nine-month-old baby, required continuous ventilation to live, and sometimes required further intensive medical treatment; the trust wanted to discontinue ventilation and treatment on the basis of the distressing and futile nature of the treatment; the parents wanted all steps to be taken to sustain life. (1) Although the application itself was made in an emergency as a result of a sudden deterioration in the child's condition, the parents had a fair opportunity to prepare their case both before and during the hearing; there was therefore no flaw in the process breaching Convention rights. (2) The provision or withdrawal of treatment for a child without parental consent, save in exceptional cases, is unlawful without a court declaration.* (3) Declarations were made permitting the clinicians to treat OT according to their clinical discretion (including not escalating treatment) and to cease ventilation immediately.§
  • Re OT (A Child) [2009] EWCA Civ 409The judge's refusal of the parents' adjournment application, and the decision to proceed with a determination of best interests of their child, was not appealable.§
  • Y (Sri Lanka) v SSHD [2009] EWCA Civ 362The appellants, who had been tortured as suspected terrorists or terrorist sympathisers before travelling from Sri Lanka to the UK, successfully resisted deportation on Article 3 grounds by claiming that they would commit suicide if returned (even though there was no objective foundation for any fear of ill-treatment).§
  • R (Smith) v Secretary of State for Defence [2009] EWCA Civ 441(1) A British soldier who is on military service in Iraq is subject to the jurisdiction of the UK within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention, so as to benefit from the rights guaranteed by the HRA while operating in Iraq, and not only when he is on a British military base or in a British hospital. (2) The inquest into the claimant's death must confirm with Article 2 standards in the scope of the investigation and nature of the verdict.§
  • R v Hughes [2009] EWCA Crim 841The court's power to entertain an appeal against sentence is not, as a matter purely of jurisdiction, removed by the fact that there has been an earlier reference of the sentence by the Attorney-General; however, in all but the wholly exceptional case, the applications for extension of time and for leave to appeal would be refused.§
  • R (James) v SSJ [2009] UKHL 22(1) Following the introduction of IPP sentences, the Secretary of State was in breach of his public law duty to make reasonable provision to enable IPP prisoners (if necessary by completing treatment courses) to demonstrate to the Parole Board their safety for release. The appropriate remedy was declaratory relief condemning the Secretary of State's failures and indicating that he is obliged to do more. The systemic failure has ended (following amendments including making the IPP sentence generally available only when the notional minimum term is at least 2 years) so no further relief is appropriate. (2) In relation to post-tariff detention, the systemic failure did not: (a) make the detention unlawful (detention remains lawful under statute until Parole Board release); (b) breach Article 5(1) (causal link with objective of detention remained until Parole Board decision); or (c) breach Article 5(4) (which is concerned with procedure not substance) although cases with prior findings or concessions of Art 5(4) breaches were remitted to Admin court for assessment of damages.§
  • Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT v Grey (2009) UKEAT 0454/08The Employment Tribunal erred as it ought to have considered (but did not consider properly) the requirements of section 4A(3)(b) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 which means that an employer is exempt from the duty to make adjustments if each of four matters can be satisfied and they are that the employer: (a) does not know that the disabled person has a disability; (b) does not know that the disabled person is likely to be at a substantial disadvantage compared with persons who are not disabled; (c) could not reasonably be expected to know that the disabled person had a disability; and (d) could not reasonably be expected to know that the disabled person is likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled.§

Old cases summarised

  • R (P) v Mersey Care NHS Trust [2003] EWHC 994 (Admin)A Tribunal recommendation for transfer from high to medium security is an important input but is not determinative; the decision whether to use the s17 (leave) and s19 (transfer) powers is for the RC and hospital managers, subject to the consent of the Secretary of State; on the facts, the Article 8 interference was justified and a decision not to transfer was properly open to them.§
  • R (IR) v Dr Shetty [2003] EWHC 3022 (Admin)Unsuccessful challenge, on Article 3 and 5 grounds, to RC's decision to recommend s47/49 patient's transfer back to prison and MoJ's decision to order it.§