October 2015 update

Case law

Deprivation of liberty

  • Deprivation of liberty case. Re KW [2015] EWCOP 53, [2015] MHLO 88 — "DW objects to the deprivation of liberty and made the application to the Court of Protection on 5th December 2014 pursuant to Section 21A of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to challenge the purpose of the standard authorisation. The application was made on the following grounds: (a) LCC failed to make an application to the Court of Protection (despite the recommendations of the Ombudsman). (b) LCC failed to take reasonable steps to plan a move for KW to a more suitable placement, closer to her family and KW has suffered distress as a result. (c) It is not in KW's best interests to be deprived of her liberty at R H therefore one of the qualifying requirements of Schedule 1A is not satisfied."§
  • Deprivation of liberty case. P v Surrey County Council [2015] EWCOP 54, [2015] MHLO 87 — "The issues for me to determine are these: (i) Was P's detention at the care home between 5 September 2014 and 23 December 2014 lawful or was it in breach of Article 5 and/or Article 8? (ii) If P's detention during that period was unlawful or in breach of Article 5, does a right to compensation or damages arise and, if so, how much? No claim for compensation or damages is in fact pursued. (iii) Was P's detention at the care home between 23 December 2014 and the date of cessation of detention lawful pursuant to a properly-made standard authorisation? If not, was it in breach of his Article 5 and/or Article 8 rights? (iv) Does a right to compensation or damages arise and, if so, how much? No claim for compensation or damages is in fact pursued."§
  • Deprivation of liberty case. Rochdale MBC v KW [2015] EWCA Civ 1054, [2015] MHLO 71(1) The judge (in his second decision) had misinterpreted the consent order (on appeal from his first decision) when he said that the Court of Appeal had not decided that KW was being deprived of her liberty. Therefore, this second appeal would be allowed. (2) The judge was also wrong to say that the Court of Appeal had taken "a procedurally impermissible route" so that its decision was "ultra vires". An order of any court is binding until it is set aside or varied: it is futile and inappropriate for a judge to seek to undermine a binding order by complaining that it was ultra vires or wrong for any other reason. In any event, the consent order was made by a procedurally permissible route: the appeal court has a discretion to allow an appeal by consent on the papers without determining the merits at a hearing if it is satisfied that there are good and sufficient reasons for doing so. If the appeal court is satisfied that (i) the parties' consent to the allowing of the appeal is based on apparently competent legal advice, and (ii) the parties advance plausible reasons to show that the decision of the lower court was wrong, it is likely to make an order allowing the appeal on the papers and without determining the merits. (3) The Court of Appeal stated that the judge's disagreement with the Cheshire West decision was in danger of distorting his approach to these cases and, in light of the two successful appeals, the review should be conducted by a different judge.§
  • Deprivation of liberty case. North Yorkshire County Council v MAG [2015] EWCOP 64, [2015] MHLO 69The Council sought a declaration that it was in MAG's best interests (a) to be deprived of his liberty and reside in his current placement, and (b) for the Corporate Director of Health and Adult services to enter into a tenancy agreement on MAG's behalf in relation to the current placement. (1) The reference in Re MN (An Adult) [2015] EWCA Civ 411 to the ability of the Court of Protection to explore the care plan put forward by a public authority and the inability of the Court to compel a public authority to agree to a care plan which it is not willing to implement does not apply when the issue is the right to liberty under Article 5. (2) The placement at which MAG had been deprived of his liberty for 9 years did not meet his needs (for instance, there was insufficient room to manoeuvre a wheelchair indoors, so he had to mobilise on his hands and knees causing physical problems including bursitis and a recurring fungal infection in his thigh) and the council had not taken the steps necessary to ensure that there was no breach of its obligations. The court therefore refused to continue an interim deprivation of liberty authorisation. [Caution: see subsequent Court of Appeal decision.]§
  • Child deprivation of liberty case. Re AB (A child: deprivation of liberty) [2015] EWHC 3125 (Fam), [2015] MHLO 74 — "There is a large measure of agreement between the parties on the relevant factual matrix and the legal principles applicable to the issues I am asked to determine, namely: (1) Whether AB is deprived of his liberty at X. (2) If so, are the parents and/or the local authority entitled to consent to the same? (3) If not, whether the court will sanction the deprivation of liberty and, if so, under what provision, power or jurisdiction? (4) Whether it would be appropriate to give guidance on the approach to, and conduct of, similar cases."§


  • Deputyship case. Re H [2015] EWCOP 52, [2015] MHLO 89 — "There are two provisions in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 ('MCA') that seem to contradict each other. Section 16(4)(b) envisages that a deputyship appointment will be of limited duration, whereas section 19(5) facilitates an appointment that could last for decades. ... When it comes to the crunch, section 16(4)(b) trumps section 19(5) because it is a principle to which the court must have regard when deciding whether it in P's best interests to appoint a deputy, while section 19(5) is simply a discretion conferred upon the court, once it has decided to appoint a deputy."§
  • Deputyship case. Re MLJ [2015] EWCOP 63, [2015] MHLO 80 — "This is a contested application for the appointment of an additional deputy to act jointly with the existing deputy for property and affairs."§
  • Deputyship case. Re AJ [2015] EWCOP 62, [2015] MHLO 79 — "This is an application by the respondent for the court to reconsider two orders that were made on the papers. The first order discharged him as his daughter's deputy for property and affairs and the second order appointed a panel deputy to act in his place."§


  • LPA case. Re ARL [2015] EWCOP 55, [2015] MHLO 86 — "This is an application by the Public Guardian for the court to revoke a Lasting Power of Attorney ('LPA') for property and financial affairs."§
  • EPA case. Re SF [2015] EWCOP 68, [2015] MHLO 84 — "This is an application by the Public Guardian for the court to revoke an Enduring Power of Attorney ('EPA') and to direct him to cancel its registration."§
  • EPA/deputyship case. Re RG [2015] EWCOP 66, [2015] MHLO 82 — "This is an application by Northamptonshire County Council for the court to revoke an Enduring Power of Attorney ('EPA') and to appoint a professional deputy to manage the donor's property and affairs in place of the attorney."§

Other cases

  • Medical best interests case. CWM TAF University v F [2015] EWHC 2533 (Fam), [2015] MHLO 75 — "This application was issued ... for a declaration under s.15 of the Mental Capacity Act: Firstly, that F lacks capacity; secondly, to make decisions about her clinically assisted nutrition and hydration; and, thirdly, the central issue, that it is not in F's best interests for clinically assisted nutrition and hydration to be continued, that it is lawful and in her best interests for clinically assisted nutrition and hydration to be withdrawn."§
  • Best interests case. Aidiniantz v Riley [2015] EWCOP 65, [2015] MHLO 81 — "These proceedings in the Court of Protection are the latest setting for the poisonous feud between the children of Mrs Grace Aidiniantz. On this occasion, they dispute where their mother should live, who should care for her, who should see her, and whether her finances should be investigated."§
  • Section 49 report case. Re RS [2015] EWCOP 56, [2015] MHLO 85 — "The matters before the court proceed as a challenge to the standard authorisation pursuant to Section 21A of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. ... On 28th May ... capacity being the gateway to the jurisdiction of this court a report was ordered pursuant to Section 49 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 ... I am not prepared to vary or alter the principle behind the original order of 28th May. Finally, this is a difficult and recurring problem and brings into sharp focus the burden upon any Trust or NHS body to comply with such direction while at the same time maintaining the provision of its service to existing patients. The cost of the report is also funded by the Trust. There is no provision within Section 49 for the court to order payment of fees or expenses in that regard. These are matters that ultimately may have to be considered elsewhere."§
  • Care proceedings/HRA claim. Medway Council v M and T [2015] EWFC B164, [2015] MHLO 78 — "In this judgment, within ongoing care proceedings, I have determined the applications by T and Mother under the Human Rights Act for declarations and damages. I have set out below the alarming history of the unlawful accommodation of T by Medway Council for over 2 years, and my reasons for declarations to that effect and for the award of damages of £20,000 each to T and her Mother for breaches of their rights to respect for their family life under Article 8 and to fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. [The following are two paragraphs of the judgment which set out just part of the history.] [24] Instead, again, the Social Worker AT, accompanied by Mother's mental health Social Worker, visited Mother on 3.10.13 and purported to obtain a fresh s20 agreement which they were satisfied she understood and had capacity to make as Mother was able to repeat back to them that it was her consent to Medway Council, that it was voluntary and she accepted she could not care for T then. Medway Council has not been able to provide this document. To its credit, Medway Council does not now attempt to suggest that they obtained a valid s20 agreement from Mother. It is conceded that the August and October 'consents' should not have been relied upon. Clearly Mother should have been properly assessed for her decision-specific capacity, and been fully informed and supported. It is highly unlikely that she would have been assessed as having capacity given her low functioning in combination with her mental illness. [25] In the meantime on 10.9.13, the social work records reveal a note entered by DH, presumably then managing this case as it is headed "Manager's Decisions: Supervision". She wrongly describes T as having been placed in foster care as an "abandoned child when Mother was detained under the MHA". T was not abandoned. Detention in hospital for treatment under the Mental Health Act does not constitute and should never be treated as an abandonment by a parent of their child. DH, however, correctly goes on to say the following: "Mother has signed the Section 20 but Social Worker was concerned whether she fully understood the meaning of this", and with a mixed stab at an accurate understanding of the position wrote: "T cannot remain under Section 20 indefinitely and clear decision making should be made…", continuing under the heading "Actions" she includes this: "Attend a legal gateway meeting to discuss actions regarding long term care plan for child (permanency). The local authority do not have PR and cannot make decisions regarding child under Section 20 without consent from M". These last comments are of course correct, but again such a meeting did not occur and still no steps were taken to address the situation."§
  • Secure accommodation order case. Re P (Application for Secure Accommodation Order) [2015] EWHC 2971 (Fam), [2015] MHLO 77 — "In my judgment it is clear that the restrictions imposed by reg. 5(2) on making a secure accommodation order under s.25 in respect of a child over the age of 16 are limited to children who are accommodated as a matter of discretion under s.20(5) and do not extend to children who are accommodated as a matter of duty under s.20(3). Where a looked-after child aged between 16 and 18 is accommodated under s.20(3) of the Children Act 1989 the court has the power to make her the subject of a secure accommodation order under s.25. It follows, therefore, that in this circumstances of this case it is appropriate that the local authority's application for a secure accommodation order be adjourned generally with liberty to restore should circumstances arise in which it considers it appropriate to do so."§
  • Inquests case. R (LF) v HM Senior Coroner for Inner South London [2015] EWHC 2990 (Admin) — "Maria died while in intensive care at King's College Hospital in London ... Plainly an inquest will be held; that is not in dispute. However, by a written decision ... the Defendant Senior Coroner rejected the argument that Maria was "in state detention" at the time of her death, within the meaning of ss. 7(2)(a) and 48(1) and (2) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and therefore the inquest must be held with a jury. By way of judicial review, the Claimant challenges that conclusion and contends that in the circumstances the Coroner was bound to call a jury. The sole issue for the Court is whether the Claimant's challenge is well-founded."
  • Legal Aid/inquests case. R (Letts) v The Lord Chancellor & Ors [2015] EWHC 402 (Admin), [2015] MHLO 72 — "This application for judicial review concerns the criteria applied by the Legal Aid Agency to determine whether relatives of a deceased should be granted legal aid for representation at an inquest into a death which has arisen in circumstances which might engage Article 2... What this case boiled down to was a consideration of how Article 2 applies to the suicide of mental health patients and an assessment of the (in)adequacy of the Guidance in reflecting the law. I have come to the conclusion that in one material respect the Guidance is inadequate and both incorporates an error of law and, also, provides a materially misleading impression of what the law is. ... [I]n the absence of a clear recognition that there is a category of case where the investigative duty arises quite irrespective of the existence of arguable breach by the State the Guidance is materially misleading and inaccurate."§


  • Law firm closed for suspected dishonesty. Blavo and Co Solicitors (SRA decision: closure) [2015] MHLO 70 — The SRA closed down Blavo & Co Solicitors and suspended John Blavo's practising certificate, giving the following reasons: (a) there is reason to suspect dishonesty of the part of a manager or employee of Blavo & Co Solicitors Limited; (b) there is reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of John Blavo in connection with his practice; (c) to protect the interests of clients of Blavo & Co Solicitors Limited.


  • Mental Health Lawyers Association Annual Conference - York, 20/11/15. The Mental Health Lawyers Association's 16th Annual Conference will be held on Friday 20/11/15 in York. Speakers: LAA Policy Team & Mental Health Unit (Q&A Session and overview of new contract); Tribunal Judge Duncan Birrell (The Role of the Salaried Judge); Dr Milnes (Autistic Society); Prof Anselm Eldergill (Court of Protection & the MCA: capacity to change?); Insp Michael Brown (Policing and Mental Health); Sophy Miles and Tam Gill (Legal Update). The conference will be chaired by Nick Lewis. Cost: £230 (non-member); £160 (member); £145 (groups of three or more members). Members are also invited to a pre-conference dinner on Thursday 19/11/15. See MHLA website for further information and booking details. See Events
  • Hill Dickinson: MHAA training - Liverpool, 18-19 Nov 2015. Hill Dickinson's specialist mental health team is holding a two-day interactive training session on the Mental Health Act 1983 on 18/11/15 and 19/11/15 in Liverpool. Designed specifically to help Mental Health Act Administrators new to the role, others new to the Act and those wishing to refresh their knowledge, the course will cover all aspects of this complex legislation, providing delegates with a pragmatic 'hands-on' understanding of the Mental Health Act 1983. See Hill Dickinson website for further details and booking information. See Events
  • Edge Training: AMHP Annual Conference - London, 11/12/15. Edge Training are running their AMHP Annual Conference on Friday 11/12/15 in London. Speakers are: Mr Justice Charles (Consent, Community Treatment Orders and Deprivation of Liberty); Simon Foster (The Care Act 2014, eight months on); James Watson (Section 135 - Research undertaken in a London Borough); Professor Tom Burns (Community Treatment Orders - latest research from the OCTET project); Jonathan Wilson (The Nearest Relative - a dilemma for AMHPs?). The conference will be chaired by Christine Hutchison. Price: £125 plus VAT. See flyer for further information and booking details. See Events


  • New book: Richard Jones, Mental Health Act Manual (18th edn, Sweet & Maxwell 2015). Everybody needs this book. Support MHLO by arranging purchase via this Amazon link (£82). You can buy the E-book version (£98.40 inc VAT) or both formats together (£117.70 inc VAT) from the Sweet & Maxwell website. See Books

Website and CPD

  • Mental Health Law Online CPD scheme: 12 points for £60. The CPD year for solicitors ends on 31/10/15. Obtain 12 CPD points online by answering monthly questionnaires. All 12 questionnaires can be completed during this CPD year, or you can keep some until the next CPD year. 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.