May 2016 update

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.
  • MHLO Annual Review 2015. Paperback and Kindle versions are £6 and £3 respectively. The Annual Review contains all news items, arranged thematically, which were added to the website during the year. Please support the website by purchasing a copy. See Annual Review


Case law

  • Hospital managers' hearing case. South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHSFT v Hospital Managers of St George's Hospital [2016] EWHC 1196 (Admin) — "This is an application for judicial review of a decision by an independent panel on 12 April 2016 to discharge the Interested Party, AU, from detention under the Mental Health Act 1983. It is brought by South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Whitworth (previously AU's responsible clinician). ... To put the case in general terms the claimants are concerned about the Panel's decision to discharge AU in the light of the views of the clinical team and also a decision of the First Tier Tribunal ... which decided on 10 March 2016 not to discharge him from detention. ... The judicial review raises an important point of principle as to the capacity of a body to seek judicial review of a decision which it could have made itself. In broad terms the Trust appointed the Panel and under the 1983 Act it exercised delegated powers. Because AU raised this point in his grounds, Warby J joined Dr Whitworth as a second claimant to the action on 4 May 2016 on the basis that, if the Trust could not seek judicial review, she could. If the Trust and Dr Whitworth can seek judicial review, the grounds they advance against the Panel's decision are, first, that it failed to treat the Tribunal's decision as a relevant consideration and, secondly, that the Panel's decision is irrational in light of the evidence available and the reasons it has given."
  • Deprivation of liberty case. Re Daniel X [2016] EWFC B31 — "This is the final hearing of the care proceedings brought by Thurrock Borough Council in relation to Daniel X, a boy of 10. ... It is also the final hearing of the application by Thurrock Borough Council for me to authorise them to deprive Daniel of his liberty by accommodating him in Y Home. ... The outstanding issue is that of Daniel's liberty, and there is a great deal of consensus on this point too. However, it has been agreed at the bar that it would be helpful if I set out the position in law and how I consider the law applies to Daniel."
  • Tax case. Pennine Care NHS Trust v HMRC [2016] UKFTT 222 (TC) — "The Appellant appeals against a decision dated 29 July 2011 issued by the Commissioners of Revenue and Customs that the construction services and materials received by the Appellant in the course of the construction of a mental health residential unit are not subject to zero rating for the purposes of VAT. Both parties agreed that the issue in this appeal is whether Prospect Place Low Secure Mental Health Unit was intended for use as a hospital or similar institution. HMRC contend that it was and therefore the supplies were standard rated. The Appellant contends that the use of the Unit satisfies paragraphs (b) and/or (g) of Note (4) and the exception for use as a hospital or similar institution does not apply; accordingly the supplies were eligible for zero rating."
  • Medical case. Re P (Huntingdon's disease patient at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust) [2016] MHLO 13This case involved a man in his 30s in the advanced stages of Huntington’s disease who had repeatedly pulled out a feeding tube attached to his stomach. The Trust applied for a ruling on what treatment would be in his best interests. Having heard evidence from a consultant neurologist (who said that it would not be right, and would be futile, to re-insert the feeding tube), and other evidence, including from relatives, Hayden J concluded that the tube should not be reinserted, even though this would hasten the man’s death. (Summary based on Press Association article.)§
  • FOI case. Home Office (Central government) (2016) UKICO FS50618706, [2016] MHLO 18 — "The complainant has requested information about police powers under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act to detain mentally disordered persons found in public places. By the date of this notice the Home Office had not responded to the request. The Commissioner’s decision is that by failing to respond to the request, the Home Office breached sections 1(1) and 10(1) of the FOIA. The Commissioner requires the Home Office to take the following steps. to ensure compliance with the legislation: Issue a response to the request under the FOIA by either complying with section 1(1) or issuing a valid refusal notice. The Home Office must take these steps within 35 calendar days of the date of this decision notice. Failure to comply may result in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court pursuant to section 54 of the Act and may be dealt with as a contempt of court." The request was: "What qualifies a constable to take decisions regarding the mental health of a member of the public, and how is this not a breach of human rights. This is a particularly important request in the context that police forces are unlawfully detaining innocent members of the public by use of this Act."§

Court of Protection

  • Judiciary website, 'Court of Protection Transparency Pilot for increased access for public and media 2016' (28/1/16). This web page contains the following documents: (1) Court of Protection: Transparency Pilot - Background note (2015); (2) Court of Protection Practice Direction: Transparency Pilot (January 2016); (3) Court of Protection: Transparency Pilot - Cause list descriptors (19 January 2016); (4) Court of Protection Pilots - Note from the Vice President to judges; (5) HMCTS Q and A Court of Protection Pilot. See Court of Protection Practice Directions


  • Commission on Acute Adult Psychiatric Care, 'Old Problems, New Solutions: Improving Acute Psychiatric Care for Adults in England' (9/2/16). Introduction from CAAPC website: "The report highlights system-wide problems in mental healthcare in England including variable quality of care on inpatient units, inadequate availability of inpatient care or alternatives to inpatient admission, and patients remaining in hospital for longer than necessary due to inadequate residential provision. The Commission’s report consequently recommends significant changes to how services are commissioned, organised and monitored across the whole mental health system. It also calls for faster access to acute care and an end to sending severely-ill mental health patients long distances for treatment." See also: (1) CAAPC website; (2) summary document. See Miscellaneous external links


  • GHP Legal, Wrexham - Mental Health Lawyer. GHP Legal are recruiting for a solicitor/caseworker to represent clients at tribunals, ideally an accredited panel member, but applications are welcome from both qualified and non-qualified individuals who are dedicated, hard-working and enthusiastic. For further information and application details see GHP Legal, Wrexham - Mental Health Lawyer