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Drilldown: Cases

Not many cases (252 of them) have been added to the database so far. To see the full list of cases (2079) go to the Mental health case law page.

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Cases > Subject : Bias or COP costs cases or Hybrid order cases or Testamentary capacity cases or Welfare benefits cases

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Page name Sentence Summary
BP v London Borough of Harrow (2019) EWCOP 20

Costs in s21A case

"The relevant circumstances of the adjournment of the January hearing are that the Respondent, the London Borough of Harrow, offered at the hearing a trial of BP returning home. ... For the Applicant, it is submitted that this is a case where it is appropriate to depart from the usual costs rule and to order the costs of the January hearing be paid by the Respondent because of the Respondent's consistent failure to offer a trial period at home before the start of and for the duration of the proceedings, and its decision to do so only after the January hearing had commenced. ... Overall, I can see the basis on which the Applicant considers an application for costs to be justified. However, this was a finely balanced case on the Applicant's own submissions in position statements, in particular that of 15 June 2018. I bear in mind the authorities on which the parties rely, in particular the Applicant's reliance on the comments of Hooper LJ in the Court of Appeal. I note the circumstances of Manchester City Council v. G, E and F [2010] EWHC 3385 were quite different. On balance and considering the circumstances as a whole, I am not persuaded that it is appropriate to depart from the general rule on this occasion. I decide this based on the chronological position of the parties set out above and all the circumstances. The Respondent's conduct falls short, to what degree is immaterial, of the necessary test. This case does not represent a blatant disregard of the processes of the Act and the Respondent's obligation to respect BP's rights under ECHR as in the Manchester case (paraphrased slightly)."

Clitheroe v Bond (2020) EWHC 1185 (Ch)

Testamentary capacity

"This is a bitter family dispute between the Claimant brother and Defendant sister as to whether their mother, the deceased, had testamentary capacity to make each of her two wills and in addition or in the alternative whether either or both wills resulted from fraudulent calumny."

DB (as executor of the estate of OE) v SSWP (2018) UKUT 46 (AAC)

Social security appointeeship

"The main grievance of Mr B, who brings this appeal in his capacity as executor of his late Aunt Miss E’s estate, is the Secretary of State’s decision to make Birmingham City Council Miss E’s social security appointee. When the council were made Miss E’s appointee, Mr B held an enduring power of attorney authorising him to deal with her financial affairs. Appointment decisions do not attract a right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal. Neither that tribunal, nor the Upper Tribunal, has jurisdiction to entertain an ‘appeal’ against an appointment decision. However, I do have some concerns about the way in which the council’s appointment application was handled. I decide to express some views on that subject. My purpose in simply to provide some assistance to the DWP and local authorities in their efforts to operate the appointee system effectively and properly."

James v James (2018) EWHC 43 (Ch)

Banks v Goodfellow test for testamentary capacity survives MCA

"There is a preliminary question of law as to the test to be applied for testamentary capacity in a case like this, where the testator has made a will, died, and then the question of capacity has arisen. The traditional test for such a case is that laid down in Banks v Goodfellow (1870) LR 5 QB 549, 565, per Cockburn CJ: 'It is essential … that a testator shall understand the nature of his act and its effects; shall understand the extent of the property of which he is disposing; shall be able to comprehend and appreciate the claims to which he ought to give effect, and, with a view to the latter object, that no disorder of the mind shall poison his affections, avert his sense of right, or prevent the exercise of his natural faculties, that no insane delusion shall influence his will in disposing of his property and bring about a disposal of it which, if his mind had been sound, would not have been made.' ... More recently the Mental Capacity Act 2005 has made fresh provision for the law of mental capacity in certain situations. What is unfortunately not made express in that legislation is the extent to which this fresh provision affects the test for capacity to make a will when that question is being judged retrospectively (typically, though not necessarily, post mortem). ... The general rule of precedent, as applied in the High Court, is that that court is not strictly bound by decisions of co-ordinate jurisdiction, but will follow them as a matter of comity unless convinced they are wrong ... As it happens, I think the decision in Walker v Badmin [2014] EWHC 71 (Ch)Not on Bailii! [that the test in Banks v Goodfellow not only had survived the enactment of the 2005 Act, but that it, rather than anything in the Act, was still the sole test of capacity for judging will-making capacity in retrospect] is right, and for the reasons given by the deputy judge. ... Whilst it is a complication to have two tests for mental capacity in making wills, one prospective and the other retrospective, it is a complication created by the decision of Parliament to legislate as it has, a decision that the courts must respect."

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."

London Borough of Hounslow v A Father & A Mother (2018) EWCOP 23

Disproportionate litigation - legal costs, and LIP costs

Judge's headnote: "Costs in the Court of Protection - Disproportionate litigation - Whether a litigant in person is entitled to recover costs including loss of earnings"

NHS Dorset CCG v LB (2018) EWCOP 7

COP costs

"In 2017, the NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group launched what were intended to be four test cases seeking clarification of the law concerning the deprivation of liberty of mentally capacitated adults. For various reasons, however, all of those applications, or in some cases that part of the application relating to the deprivation of liberty issue, were withdrawn, but not before the Official Solicitor had agreed to act for two of the respondents with the benefit of publicly-funded certificates and had incurred some legal costs. Subsequently, the Official Solicitor has applied for all or part of those costs to be paid by the applicant. This judgment sets out my decision on that costs application and the reasons for that decision."

Parsonage v Parsonage (2019) EWHC 2362 (Ch)

Validity of will

" The validity of the 2011 Will is challenged by D1 on the grounds that BP lacked capacity (1) to know and understand the nature and effect of the 2011 Will, (2) to know and understand the size of her estate, and/or (3) to know and appreciate the claims to which she ought to give effect. The underlying factual basis of the challenge is the severity or extent of BP's dementia and the circumstances in which the 2011 Will was prepared and executed."

R v Westwood (2020) EWCA Crim 598

Successful s45A appeal

"In the circumstances of this case there was a sound reason for departing from the need to impose a sentence with a "penal element". In view of the low level of the appellant's "retained responsibility", the likelihood that for the rest of his life he will need psychiatric treatment and supervision that can most effectively be provided through orders under sections 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act, and the likely advantages in this case of the regime for and on his release under such orders when compared to an order under section 45A, we consider that that is the right disposal here."

R v Yuel (2019) EWCA Crim 1693

Sentence appeal - s45A

(1) The appellant accepted that the s45A hybrid order was reasonable in the circumstances. The court discussed the mental health sentencing regime (including s45A and restricted hospital orders) at paragraphs 44-47. (2) The trial judge's sentence was 11 years' imprisonment for each of six rapes and three years for breach of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, to be served concurrently.On appeal this was increased to 14 years with a five-year extended licence period.

Re A (A Patient, now deceased) (No 3) (2018) EWCOP 16

COP costs

"I have before me an application [which] relates to certain costs orders against Mr Fitzgerald dated 22 and 24 March 2016 which I made in the Court of Protection, as President of the Court of Protection, in proceedings (95908524), to which Mr Fitzgerald was a party. Those proceedings related to Mr Fitzgerald's now deceased aunt A, a patient whose affairs were under the control of the Court of Protection until her death on 5 March 2018. Central to Mr Fitzgerald's application are the circumstances in which, in the course of those proceedings, SJ Lush, by an order dated 28 May 2013, had appointed her niece, C, to be A's deputy for property and affairs."

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."

Re SW (2017) EWCOP 7

Medical treatment, costs, anonymity

(1) "[A]s matters stand, the transplant being proposed cannot proceed, whatever the court may say or do. As it has been presented to the court, this scarcely coherent application is totally without merit, it is misconceived and it is vexatious. It would be contrary to every principle of how litigation ought to be conducted in the Court of Protection, and every principle of proper case management, to allow this hopelessly defective application to proceed on the forlorn assumption that the son could somehow get his tackle in order and present a revised application which could somehow avoid the fate of its predecessor." (2) "As against the son, the claim for costs could not, in my judgment, be clearer. Given everything I have said, this is the plainest possible case for departing from the ordinary rule, set out in rule 157 of the Court of Protection Rules 2007, and applying the principles set out in rule 159. ... [B]oth Dr Waghorn and Dr Jooste, in my judgment, are persons against whom a costs order can be made even though are not, formally, parties to the litigation – and, if that is so, then for the same reasons as in relation to the son, it is, in my judgment, fair and just to order them to pay the costs." (3) "There is no reason why either SW or SAN should be named, and, indeed, every reason why they should not. Nor, in all the circumstances, is there any reason why the son should be named. Dr Waghorn and Dr Jooste, however, stand in a very different position. There is a very strong public interest in exposing the antics which these two struck-off doctors have got up to, not least so that others may be protected from their behaviour."

Todd v Parsons (2019) EWHC 3366 (Ch)

Testamentary capacity

"The claim was opposed by the third defendant, challenging that will on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, want of knowledge and approval and undue influence. ... The traditional test for capacity is that laid down in Banks v Goodfellow (1870) LR 5 QB 549 ... In James v James [2018] WTLR 1313, I held that the traditional test still applied, and had not been replaced by that contained in the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Neither party argued before me that the test should now be that contained in the 2005 Act, although the third defendant reserved the right to argue otherwise on appeal. ... In my judgment the 2008 will is valid."

Whittaker v Hancock & Ors (2018) EWHC 3478 (Ch)

LPA attorney as substituted personal representative

"The claimant has brought a claim under section 50 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985 to be appointed as substitute personal representative of the estate of John Parker in place of the second defendant, her mother, and for a caveat entered by the third defendant on 20 July 2016 to be removed. ... The third defendant is the deceased's daughter and opposes the claim. ... In a statement accompanying the Will, signed by the deceased and witnessed by a legal secretary the deceased explains that he has made no provision for the third defendant ... On 20 July 2016 the third defendant caused a caveat to be entered. She subsequently entered an appearance to the claimant's warning asserting that the 2003 Will may be invalid due to the deceased lacking testamentary capacity, being subject to undue influence and want of knowledge and approval. ... Mr Devereux-Cooke submits that I should make an order appointing the claimant as substitute personal representative for the second defendant. The claimant is the attorney for the second defendant, the LPA having been registered on 16 January 2014. The second defendant cannot consent to the claim as she lacks capacity. The first defendant does not oppose the claim. ... It is a general LPA in respect of property and financial affairs that is in wide terms enabling the claimant, as attorney, to make decisions about the second defendant's property and financial affairs. There are no conditions or restrictions specified in the instrument. ... It is also relevant that the second defendant is the sole beneficiary under the 2003 will. She is in a different position to a case where there are a number of beneficiaries. ... I accept Mr Devereux-Cooke's analysis that the claimant has standing to bring this claim under section 50. If I am wrong in my analysis I consider that the position could be remedied by adding the second defendant as a claimant and appointing the current claimant as her litigation friend. I also accept Mr Devereux-Cooke's analysis of rules 31 and 35 of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987 and would have been prepared to treat the claim as including this as an alternative legal route, had it been necessary. ... I consider that in order for the deceased's estate to be administered it is necessary to substitute the claimant as personal representative in place of the second defendant."

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