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Drilldown: Cases

Not many cases (245 of them) have been added to the database so far. To see the full list of cases (2072) go to the Mental health case law page.

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Cases > Subject : Advance decision cases or Bias or Litigation capacity cases

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Page name Sentence Summary
CS v SBH (2019) EWHC 634 (Fam)

Whether child had "sufficient understanding" to conduct appeal without Guardian

"Thus in determining whether the child has sufficient understanding to give instructions to pursue an appeal and to conduct the appeal I need to consider a range of factors including: (i) The level of intelligence of the child. (ii) The emotional maturity of the child. (iii) Factors which might undermine their understanding such as issues arising from their emotional, psychological, psychiatric or emotional state. (iv) Their reasons for wishing to instruct a solicitor directly or to act without a guardian and the strength of feeling accompanying the wish to play a direct role. (v) Their understanding of the issues in the case and their desired outcome any matter which sheds light on the extent to which those are authentically their own or are mere parroting of one parents position. ... (vi) Their understanding of the process of litigation including the function of their lawyer, the role of the judge, the role they might play and the law that is applied and some of the consequences of involvement in litigation. ... (vii) The court's assessment of the risk of harm to the child of direct participation for the risk of harm arising from excluding the child from direct participation and the child's appreciation of the risks of harm."

DM v Dorset County Council (2019) EWCOP 4

Litigation capacity

Unsuccessful challenge to a finding that DM lacked litigation capacity.

Hinduja v Hinduja (2020) EWHC 1533 (Ch)

Protected party - litigation friend

(1) Medical evidence on capacity to conduct proceedings is not required under the CPR, and in this case to require it would not be necessary or in accordance with the overriding objective. The court decided that SP was a protected party. (2) The defendants argued that the proposed litigation friend failed both limbs of the relevant test (ability fairly and competently to conduct proceedings and having no adverse interest). Having considered the tests (including noting that "[w]hether the existence of a financial interest on the part of the litigation friend should debar [her] from acting will depend on the nature of the interest, and whether it is in fact adverse or whether it otherwise prevents the litigation friend conducting the proceedings fairly and competently on the protected party's behalf") the court made the appointment sought.

JG v Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (2019) UKUT 187 (AAC)

Non-legal research by judge

Judicial summary from gov.uk website: "Mental Health First-tier Tribunal - Judicial Bias - Apparent bias - Breach of Natural Justice - Procedural Irregularity. Where a First-tier Tribunal judge undertook non-legal research by accessing a court of appeal judgment in respect of the appellant, did this lead to a presumption of bias and automatic disqualification? Did it lead to a conclusion of a real possibility of bias? Whether so doing amounts to a procedural irregularity leading to a breach of natural justice in that it rendered the hearing unfair. In the circumstances appertaining there can be no presumption of bias leading to automatic disqualification. On the facts of the case there was no real possibility of bias. Undertaking the non-legal research was a procedural irregularity but on the facts the hearing was not unfair."

LJ v Mercouris (2019) EWHC 1746 (QB)

Litigation friend

"The essential questions are: (1) Does Mr [J] lack capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. (2) Is the court satisfied that Mrs [J] satisfies the conditions in Rule 21.4 (3). This requirement is incorporated by Rule 21.6 (5). The main function of a litigation friend appears to be to carry on the litigation on behalf of the Claimant and in his best interests. However, part of the reasoning for imposing a requirement for a litigation friend appears also to be for the benefit of the other parties. This is not just so that there is a person answerable to the opposing party for costs."

NHS Cumbria CCG v Rushton (2018) EWCOP 41

Withdrawal of CANH; advance decision

"This is an application regarding the proposed withdrawal of clinically assisted nutrition and hydration in respect of Mrs Jillian Rushton, who is now 85 years of age. Since sustaining a traumatic head injury in December 2015, Mrs Rushton has suffered from a prolonged period of disorder of consciousness. Insofar as a label is relevant, the consensus of medical opinion, in respect of which there is no dissent at all, is that she is in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). In their recent guidance, ‘Clinically-assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) and adults who lack the capacity to consent’, the Royal College of Physicians and the British Medical Association have noted that the importance of obtaining a precise and definitive diagnosis has reduced. It is recognised by the Courts and clinicians that drawing a firm distinction between vegetative state and minimally conscious state is frequently both artificial and unnecessary. In practice, when assessing best interests, information about the patient’s current condition and prognosis for functional recovery and the level of confidence with which these can be evaluated is invariably of greater importance than a precise diagnosis. ... It perhaps requires to be said, though in my view it should be regarded as axiomatic, that the medical profession must give these advanced decisions the utmost care, attention and scrutiny. I am confident the profession does but I regret to say that I do not think sufficient care and scrutiny took place here. The lesson is an obvious one and needs no amplification. Where advanced decisions have been drawn up and placed with GP records there is an onerous burden on the GP to ensure, wherever possible, that they are made available to clinicians in hospital. By this I mean a copy of the decision should be made available and placed within the hospital records with the objective that the document should follow the patient. It need hardly be said that it will rarely, if ever, be sufficient to summarise an advance decision in a telephone conversation. ... The family have ... made it clear to me that she would not have regarded her present situation as tolerable. Whilst I have no doubt that she would understand the commitment of her son, Tim and his profound resistance to letting her go, I have equally no doubt that she would want to be let go and I have no hesitation in concluding that it is my responsibility to respect this."

Re M: A v Z (2018) EWCOP 4

COP bias

"This matter concerns an appeal from the order of HHJ Roberts made on 18 July 2018 in Court of Protection (COP) proceedings concerning M. The appellants are M's mother and father in law who have the care of X, M's son age 12. ... Mr Simblet relies on four grounds of appeal: (1) There was apparent bias, in that the judge stated her intention in the exchange between the judge and the legal representatives, in the absence of the parties, to decide the application consistent with decisions made in different proceedings. (2) The judge wrongly felt constrained to reach a decision that would be consistent with a decision she had reached in different proceedings. (3) There was a material irregularity, in that the Judge took into account material from different proceedings, and the [paternal grandparents] within the COP proceedings were unable to properly know the case against them or that they had to meet. (4) In reaching her decision the judge failed to identify or give sufficient weight to factors that were relevant to M's best interests."

TB v KB (2019) EWCOP 14

Capacity to conduct proceedings

"Law applicable to the court's determination of the question of whether P lacks capacity to conduct proceedings is well settled. ... Having regard to that analysis, I am clear that P does lack that capacity. This leaves the question of P's participation in these proceedings."

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