Mental health case law


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486 cases have so far been added to a new database structure which allows for more powerful searches. The following form will search for cases in the database and not in the database.

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Alternatively, you can browse the database cases using filters including Subject, Date, Judges, Parties and Court at Special:Drilldown/Cases.


All 2203 cases on this site are structured into categories and (where appropriate) sub-categories. Click ▼ and ► to browse the category tree. Click a category name to see summaries of its cases. Click a case name for details of that case.

Case law - by subject matter(21 categories)
Anonymisation cases(4 pages)
Bias cases(13 pages)
Capacity and DOL(20 categories)
Classification cases(2 categories)
Community care and after-care(3 categories)
Coronavirus cases(9 pages)
Criminal law cases(10 categories)
Disability discrimination(19 pages)
Inquest cases(1 categories, 36 pages)
Medical records cases(4 pages)
Mental Health Tribunals(16 categories)
Ministry of Justice cases(29 pages)
Miscellaneous cases(220 pages)
Nearest relative cases(3 categories)
Odds and sods(2 categories)
Power of attorney cases(2 categories)
Repatriation cases(80 pages)
SRA decisions(12 pages)
Welfare benefits cases(14 pages)

Recently-added cases

The following are the most recently-added cases:

Case name Sentence Summary Added
R (Worcestershire County Council v SSHSC [2021] EWCA Civ 1957 Ordinary residence and s117 JG was detained under s3 in Worcestershire (Area 1), discharged to residential care in Swindon (Area 2), detained again under s3 in Swindon and discharged again. The Court of Appeal held that: (1) Area 1's duty subsists until it comes to an end by a s117(2) decision that the patient "is no longer in need" of aftercare services (ordinary residence in area 2 when subsequently detained makes no difference); there had been no such decision so the duty continued throughout both the second period of detention and beyond. (2) Obiter, by the ordinary meaning of "ordinarily resident" and under the Shah test JG was ordinarily resident in Swindon immediately before the second detention, and there was nothing in subsequent caselaw (including Cornwall) or the Care Act 2014 amendments (including the change from "resident" to "ordinarily resident") justifying a different conclusion. 12/1/22
Royal Borough of Greenwich v IOSK [2021] EWCOP 65 Coronavirus vaccination It was determined to be in the best interests of IOSK, a 17-year-old male with autism and severe learning disability, to be administered a coronavirus vaccination, despite family objections. 10/1/22
Re AH [2021] EWCA Civ 1768 Judicial visits This appeal against a Court of Protection serious medical treatment decision was allowed because of the nature of the judge's visit to the patient in hospital: it may have been that the judge considered AH to have given him some insight into her wishes; if so, the judge's decision was undermined because (a) it was strongly arguable that the judge was not equipped properly to gain any such insight (the validity of any such assessment might well have required further evidence or submissions) and (b) the parties needed to be informed about this and given an opportunity to make submissions. The Court of Appeal provided the following guidance pending any update to the guidance issued by Charles J: "Clearly, these matters will need to be determined before any visit takes place and after hearing submissions or observations from the parties: (a) Whether the judge will visit P; (b) The purpose of any visit; (c) When the visit is to take place and the structure of the visit (in other words, how the visit it to be managed; what is to happen during it; and whether it is to be recorded and/or a note taken); (d) What is to happen after the visit. This will include, depending on the purpose of the visit, how the parties are to be informed what occurred; when and how this is to happen; and how this will fit within the hearing so as to enable it to be addressed as part of the parties' respective cases." 31/12/21
A Local Authority v JB [2021] UKSC 52 Capacity and sexual relations The joint expert described JB's number one priority as "to get" a woman as a sexual partner, with the sole goal being physical and sexual contact with a woman and any woman, and that JB lacked understanding of concepts of consent by the other person and so posed a risk of sexual offending to women. The Supreme Court (dismissing the Official Solicitor's appeal) decided that in assessing JB's capacity "the matter" was his "engaging in" (rather than consenting to) sexual relations, and that information relevant to that decision includes the fact that the other person must have the ability to consent to the sexual activity and must in fact consent before and throughout the sexual activity. The Supreme Court reiterated that capacity assessments should first ask whether the person is "unable to make a decision for himself in relation to the matter" (which involves formulating "the matter" and consequently identifying "the information relevant to the decision" which includes information about the reasonably foreseeable consequences to the patient and others) and secondly ask whether that inability is "because of" an impairment of, or a disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain. In relation to sexual relations "the matter" will ordinarily be formulated in a non-specific way: in this case JB's wishes were non-specific, but in another case "the matter" might be person-specific (e.g. sex between a long-standing couple where one person had a relevant impairment, or between two mutually-attracted people both with relevant impairments). The question of JB's capacity was remitted to the original judge for reconsideration. 25/11/21
M v Ukraine 2452/04 [2012] ECHR 732 Deprivation of liberty in hospital M was too late to complain about her first hospitalisation. Her second, third and fourth hospitalisations violated Article 5(1) for procedural reasons. The fourth hospitalisation involved deprivation of liberty, despite the government's position that it had been voluntary. She was awarded €12,000 non-pecuniary damages. 23/11/21
Re ZK (No 2) [2021] EWCOP 61 Capacity in various areas (1) In relation to residence, the judge noted: "ZK is having to learn that he can choose, as well as how to choose. If and when he develops that 'skill', he will almost certainly have capacity to make the decision." (2) The jointly-instructed expert had concluded that ZK had capacity to make decisions about contact with members of his family, but not others; the judge disagreed and, having decided that it would be unnecessary and disproportionate to direct further questions or to list a further hearing, declared that ZK lacked capacity in relation to contact with anyone. (3) The family asked for the residence decision to be revisited, but the judge decided that in the context of this litigation, its prolonged nature (it had begun over four years ago in relation to forced marriage concerns and continued in the COP), and the cost it must have had on all those concerned, it was not appropriate, necessary or proportionate to prolong matters further. 21/11/21
Re ZK (No 1) [2021] EWCOP 12 Residence ZK was a 37-year-old man with Landau-Kleffner Syndrome who was belatedly learning how to be autonomous, in particular through BSL. It would accord with his clear wishes, and be in his best interests, to remain at his current placement (rather than return to his family) and to move to a second placement when it was ready. 21/11/21
Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust v EG [2021] EWHC 2990 (Fam) DOL during conditional discharge This decision demonstrates the Heath Robinson nature of today's mental health law. (1) The Supreme Court decision in MM meant that the patient could no longer remain conditionally discharged because he was being deprived of his liberty within the meaning of Article 5, so he was made subject to a "technical recall" and remained in the community on s17 leave under the same conditions. (2) The MHT then conditionally discharged him again, having correctly applied other domestic case law, because he was receiving no treatment in hospital so could not remain on s17 leave. (3) The SSJ would recall him to hospital if DOL in the community could not be authorised. (4) The court held that this outcome would violate the patient's Article 5(1) rights because being in hospital, even as an out-patient, was counter-therapeutic. (5) In order to avoid this violation, s72 should be read and given effect under s3 Human Rights Act 1998 so that "suffering from mental disorder ... which makes it appropriate for him to be liable to be detained in a hospital for medical treatment" includes liability to be "detained for treatment", even where that treatment is being provided in the community, so long as it could lawfully be provided in hospital. (6) Obiter, the inherent jurisdiction does not extend to depriving a person with capacity of his liberty, so could not have been used in this case. 16/11/21
North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust v SR [2021] EWCOP 58 Contingent declaration - caesarean SR had capacity to make decisions about her care in pregnancy and at birth, and wanted a caesarean section. The judge did not determine whether a threshold test for contingent declarations was necessary but suggested (obiter) that the appropriate threshold would be "a real risk" that the person may lose capacity. There was such a risk, and it was in SR's best interests for a planned caesarean to take place, using force if necessary. 13/11/21
North West London CCG v GU [2021] EWCOP 59 Dignity and CANH The judge considered various international texts, instruments and documents in relation to human dignity and, having decided that continued clinically-assisted nutrition and hydration was not in GU's best interests, was critical of the hospital for not arranging his death years sooner. Attention was drawn to Royal College of Physicians and British Medical Association, 'Clinically-assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) and adults who lack the capacity to consent' (12/12/18) and the further guidance in Practice Guidance (Court of Protection: Serious Medical Treatment) [2020] EWCOP 2. 13/11/21



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