RH v South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust [2010] UKUT 32 (AAC)

(1) The Tribunal's reasons for refusing to grant the absolute discharge of a conditionally-discharged patient, against the unanimous evidence of the treating team and an independent psychiatrist, were adequate. (2) The Tribunal disagreed not with the witness's assessments but with their conclusions as to whether the restriction order should cease to have effect: that was the kind of judgment for which it is difficult to give reasons beyond those required to show that the tribunal has directed itself correctly as to the law and to show to what matters the tribunal has had regard. (3) The extensive references to the SC case were enough to show that the Tribunal had the correct legal test in mind. (4) The restrictions can continue in the absence of any mental disorder, and risk from possible future disorder is relevant, so the criteria here are very different from those for discharge of a CTO: in the latter a focus on the short-term position might be appropriate, whereas the Tribunal here had also to consider what might happen in the long term. Manslaughter can be punished by a life sentence with release being on life licence: this is a powerful indication that Parliament intended a long-term view of risks to be taken; it is unsurprising that restrictions should in some cases remain in force for life. (5) The mere existence of current, or possible future, mental disorder is not enough to justify the continuation of a restriction order: regard must also be had to the seriousness of any risk of harm to others. (6) As under the new appeal system the First-tier Tribunal is not a party to proceedings, it is unsatisfactory for public authority respondents (the responsible authority and, in restricted cases, the Secretary of State) to make no submissions at all; submissions would assist even if drafted by non-legally-qualified caseworkers; for instance, the respondent might concede that the Tribunal erred in law but ask the Upper Tribunal to substitute its own decision rather than remit the case.

Related judgments

RH v South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust [2010] EWCA Civ 1273

R (SC) v MHRT [2005] EWHC 17 (Admin)

Relevant legislation

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