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Drilldown: Cases

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Cases > Subject : Bias or Deprivation of liberty or Hospital managers hearings or Unlawful detention cases

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Page name Sentence Summary
Atudorei v Romania 50131/08 (2014) ECHR 947

DOL damages

Breach of Articles 5 and 8, but not Article 8, relating to hospital admission.

CB v Medway Council (2019) EWCOP 5

Unfair summary disposal of DOL/residence case

"The simple issue is whether the Judge had sufficient information before her to discount, at this stage, any real possibility of CB returning to her home, supported by the extensive and expensive care package that is being mooted. The language of the Judgment itself, to my mind, answers this question in phrases such as “I very much doubt…. I am very sceptical…. The practicalities are…. likely to be extremely difficult….” I share the Judge’s scepticism and I also very much doubt that even with an extensive package of support a return home will be in CB’s best interest. I note too that Dr Ajiteru expressed himself in cautious terms (see para 10 above). However, scepticism and “doubt” is not sufficient to discount a proper enquiry in to such a fundamental issue of individual liberty. ... It is easy to see why the Judge took the course she did and I have a good deal of sympathy with her. She will have recognised, as do I, that the effluxion of time has had its own impact on the viability of the options in this case. However, what is involved here is nothing less than CB’s liberty. Curtailing, restricting or depriving any adult of such a fundamental freedom will always require cogent evidence and proper enquiry. I cannot envisage any circumstances where it would be right to determine such issues on the basis of speculation and general experience in other cases."

Esegbona v King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (2019) EWHC 77 (QB)

Aggravated damages following MCA breaches

"The claimant, Dr Gloria Esegbona, brings this claim as administrator of the estate of the deceased, her mother, Christiana Esegbona. The action is brought in negligence and false imprisonment. The amended claim form states that the claimant's claim is a claim in clinical negligence and/or pursuant to the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and/or the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934. The claimant claims damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity as well as damages, including aggravated damages, for false imprisonment. It is the claimant's case not only that the medical, nursing and other staff at the defendant’s hospital owed her mother a duty to treat her with reasonable care and skill but also that the defendant had duties under the Mental Capacity Act 2005: to take reasonable steps to establish whether Mrs Esegbona lacked capacity before doing any act in connection with her care or treatment; and further that if the defendant reasonably believed that Mrs Esegbona lacked capacity whether it would be in her best interests for any act in connection with her care or treatment to be done; and to take steps to obtain a court order or the relevant authorisation under schedule A1 to the Act before depriving Mrs Esegbona of her liberty. The claimant says the defendant acted in breach of these duties."

Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust v R (2020) EWCOP 4

Contingent/anticipatory declarations - MCA/inherent jurisdiction - Caesarean section

"All the treating clinicians agreed: R had capacity to make decisions as to her ante-natal and obstetric care; there was a substantial risk of a deterioration in R's mental health, such that she would likely lose capacity during labour; there was a risk to her physical health, in that she could require an urgent Caesarean section ('C-section') for the safe delivery of her baby but might resist."

Hertfordshire CC v K (2020) EWHC 139 (Fam)

Inherent jurisdiction and DOL

"In this matter, the question before the court is whether it should grant a deprivation of liberty order (hereafter a DOL order) under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court in respect of AK, born in 2003 and now aged 16."

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."

King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust v FG (2019) EWCOP 7

Medical treatment case

"[T]he King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust seeks an order in the following terms in relation to FG: (a) a declaration that FG lacks capacity to make decisions regarding the medical treatment for his physical health conditions; (b) that it is lawful and in FG's best interests for him to undergo an operation to repair his right shoulder fracture/dislocation; and (c) that it is in his best interests to receive any sedation and anaesthesia his clinicians think necessary to allow the operation to be done. The matter has come in front of me today as urgent applications judge."

London Borough of Tower Hamlets v A (2020) EWCOP 21

Residence and care capacity

(1) Residence and care decisions are usually considered as individual domains of capacity, in keeping with the MCA's "issue-specific" approach; residence and care decisions involve overlapping information and are not made in separate "silos"; overlap does not mean that a residence decision incorporates a care decision: it is not necessary to make a capacitous decision about care in order to make a capacitous decision about residence. What was required for A to make a capacitous decision about where she lives is a broad understanding of the sort of care which would be provided in each of the two places of residence potentially available to her. Although it was agreed that A lacked capacity to decide how she was cared for, it was decided that she had capacity to decide whether to continue to live in residential care or return to live in her own flat with a care package. (2) Legal Aid would have ended had the DOLS standard authorisation ended: in a postscript the judge decided that, as A had no choice until the home care package was available, "the determination that A lacks capacity to determine the care that she should receive necessarily means that she lacks capacity within the meaning of paragraph 15 of Schedule A1 (that "[t]he relevant person meets the mental capacity requirement if he lacks capacity in relation to the question whether or not he should be accommodated in the relevant hospital or care home for the purpose of being given the relevant care or treatment").

LV v UK 50718/16 (2019) MHLO 32 (ECHR)

MHT/Parole Board delay

LV, a s47/49 patient, had argued that there had been a delay, in breach of Article 5(4), in securing her release, in particular because of the two-stage process involving both the Mental Health Tribunal and Parole Board. She accepted the government's offer of £2,500 in settlement of her claim.

P v A Local Authority (2015) EWCOP 89

Discharge from DOLS

"This is an application by P (the Applicant) acting through his litigation friend, the Official Solicitor, for an order under section 21A of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) discharging the standard authorisation made on 24 June 2015 which authorises a deprivation of liberty in his current accommodation (the placement)."

Parker v Chief Constable of Essex Police (2017) EWHC 2140 (QB)

Damages following unlawful arrest (Barrymore)

"The Defendant founds its submission that the Claimant is entitled to nominal damages only on the decision of the Supreme Court in Lumba (WL) v SSHD [2011] UKSC 12. Lumba has been considered and applied by the Supreme Court in R (Kambadzi) v SSHD [2011] UKSC 23B and by the Court of Appeal in Bostridge v Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust [2015] EWCA Civ 79, [2015] MHLO 12. The Defendant relies upon Kambadzi and Bostridge as well as Lumba. ... Applying the basic principles of compensatory damages in tort, the counterfactual (i.e. what would have happened if the tort had not been committed) in Lumba was that the Secretary of State would have detained the claimants lawfully pursuant to the published policy. ... In Bostridge the finding of the trial judge was that the appellant would have been detained as and when he was if his illness had been correctly addressed via section 3 of the Mental Health Act, as it should have been; and that he would then have received precisely the same treatment and been discharged when he was. The Court of Appeal held that the fact that this counterfactual necessarily included steps being taken by persons other than the Defendant did not prevent the application of the principles set out in Lumba. The appellant therefore recovered only nominal damages. It is not enough for a Defendant in the position of the Secretary of State in Lumba or the Defendant in the present case to show that the counterfactual could have resulted in the same outcome as had been caused by the tort: the Defendant must go on to show that it would have done so. ... It follows that I reject the Defendant's submission that the principles set out in Lumba are applicable if the unlawfully arrested Claimant was "arrestable", meaning that he could have been lawfully arrested: it is necessary for the Defendant also to show that he would have been lawfully arrested. The principles set out in Lumba lead to an award of nominal damages if no loss has been suffered because the results of the counterfactual are the same as the events that happened. If and to the extent that they diverge (e.g. because a lawful arrest would not have occurred at the time but would have occurred later) the Court will have to decide on normal tortious compensatory principles whether and to what extent a substantial award of damages is merited for the divergence in outcome. What is the appropriate counterfactual in a given case will be acutely fact-sensitive."

Parker v Chief Constable of Essex Police (2018) EWCA Civ 2788

Nominal damages (Barrymore)

"In the early hours of 31 March 2001, Michael Parker (a celebrity entertainer who is better known by his stage name, Michael Barrymore) returned to his home with eight guests. ... In relation to Mr Parker, that arrest was to be effected by Det. Con. Susan Jenkins who had played a central role in the re-investigation and was well aware of the evidence: she believed she had reasonable grounds both to suspect Mr Parker of committing an offence and to conclude that it was necessary to effect his arrest. In the event, she was detained in traffic and a surveillance officer (P.C. Cootes) was ordered to effect the arrest, which he did. ... For these reasons, I would conclude that Stuart-Smith J was correct to conclude that there were reasonable grounds both to suspect Mr Parker of committing an offence and that it was necessary to arrest him. Equally, however, I have no doubt that had things been done as they should have been done (to quote Baroness Hale in Kambadzi), a lawful arrest would have been effected. Thus, I would allow this appeal and, in answer to the issue posed by the Master, declare that Mr Parker is entitled to nominal damages only."

PB v Priory Group Ltd (2018) MHLO 74

Damages for unlawful psychiatric detention

A Part 36 offer of £11,500 plus legal costs was accepted in this claim brought for unlawful detention and breach of Article 5. The patient had been detained under s5(2) when not an in-patient, and this section had lapsed for nearly seven hours before detention under s2 began.

R (Jalloh) v SSHD (2020) UKSC 4

DOL and common law

"The right to physical liberty was highly prized and protected by the common law long before the United Kingdom became party to the European Convention on Human Rights. A person who was unlawfully imprisoned could, and can, secure his release through the writ of habeas corpus. He could, and can, also secure damages for the tort of false imprisonment. This case is about the meaning of imprisonment at common law and whether it should, or should not, now be aligned with the concept of deprivation of liberty in article 5 of the ECHR."

R (Jollah) v SSHD (2018) EWCA Civ 1260

False imprisonment and damages

"The context is one of immigration detention. The claimant, who is the respondent to this appeal (and who for present purposes I will call "IJ"), was made subject to a curfew restriction between the hours of 23.00 and 07.00 for a period between 3 February 2014 and 14 July 2016, pending potential deportation. Such curfew was imposed by those acting on behalf of the appellant Secretary of State purportedly pursuant to the provisions of paragraph 2 (5) of Schedule 3 to the Immigration Act 1971 (as it then stood). It has, however, been accepted in these proceedings that, in the light of subsequent Court of Appeal authority, there was no power to impose a curfew under those provisions. Consequently, the curfew was unlawfully imposed. The question arising is whether IJ is entitled to damages for false imprisonment in respect of the time during which he was subject to the unlawful curfew. The trial judge, Lewis J, decided that he was. Having so decided, the judge at a subsequent hearing assessed the damages at £4,000: [2017] EWHC 330 (Admin)B; [2017] EWHC 2821 (Admin)B. The Secretary of State now appeals, with leave granted by the judge, against the decision that IJ was entitled to damages for false imprisonment. IJ cross-appeals, with leave granted by Singh LJ, against the amount of the award of damages. It is said on behalf of IJ that a much greater award should have been made."

R (LV) v SSJ (2013) EWCA Civ 1086

MHT/PB delay

The applicant had been given an IPP sentence then transferred to hospital under s47/49. On 12/12/11 the MHT decided she met the criteria for conditional discharge. The dossier reached the Parole Board on 29/3/12, and the hearing was arranged for 12/3/13. She claimed a breach of Article 5(4) during: (a) the period before the dossier was ready, when no judicial body was responsible for supervising her progress and the potentiality for release, and (b) the subsequent long period until the Parole Board met. The Court of Appeal gave permission to apply for judicial review (being simpler than giving permission to appeal the High Court's refusal of permission to apply for judicial review).

R (LV) v SSJ (2014) EWHC 1495 (Admin)

MHT/PB delay

"In the light of authority, Mr Southey accepts that he cannot submit as a matter of principle that the system by which the Claimant's release was considered by two successive bodies, the Tribunal and the Parole Board, is in conflict with the Claimant's Article 5(4) rights. ... He goes on to argue that, on the facts as they are here, if there were to be two hearings before two bodies, the state had a legal obligation to ensure expedition throughout the overall process. He says there was no such expedition, since the review of the legality of the Claimant's detention took almost 22 months from the date when the Claimant applied to the Tribunal on 24 May 2011 to the decision of the Parole Board on 21 March 2013. Within that period, Mr Southey makes a series of specific complaints as to periods of delay. ... The claim for judicial review is dismissed as against both Defendants. ... Although it took a considerable time to be resolved, there was in my view no breach of the obligation on the part of the State to provide a 'speedy' resolution."

R (SR) v Huntercombe Maidenhead Hospital (2005) EWHC 2361 (Admin)

Hospital managers and dangerousness

Usually the managers should discharge if they disagree with the RMO's barring report, but there can be exceptions; they have an unfettered discretion.

R v LV; R (LV) v SSJ (2015) EWCA Crim 45, (2015) EWCA Civ 56

Sentencing guidance; MHT/PB delay

"There are before the court: (1) Sitting as the Court of Appeal Criminal Division six cases where indeterminate sentences (either imprisonment for public protection (IPP) or a life sentence) had been passed between 1997 and 2008. Each specified a minimum term. In each case there was psychiatric evidence before the court with a view to a judge considering making a hospital order under MHA 1983 s37 as amended with a restriction under s41 of the same Act. The sentencing judge did not make such an order, but each was subsequently transferred to hospital under a transfer direction made by the Secretary of State under s47. (2) Sitting as the Court of Appeal Civil Division, a civil appeal in relation to a judicial review brought by the first of the appellants in the criminal appeals of the actions of the Secretary of State for Justice and the Parole Board relating to delay in the determination of her application for release from custody." In relation to the criminal aspect: in cases where medical evidence suggests mental disorder, the offending is partly or wholly attributable to that disorder, treatment is available and a hospital order may be appropriate, the court should consider (and, if appropriate, make) a s45A order before considering making a hospital order.

R v Riverside Mental Health Trust, ex p Huzzey (1998) EWHC Admin 465

Dangerousness criterion and hospital managers

Managers must consider dangerousness criterion when reviewing detention after RMO's barring order, and in almost all circumstances discharge if not satisfied of that criterion.

Re AB (Inherent Jurisdiction: Deprivation of Liberty) (2018) EWHC 3103 (Fam)

Inherent jurisdiction authorises DOL during conditional discharge

AB had capacity to consent to the care, support and accommodation arrangements which were provided as part of his conditional discharge but, following the MM case, there was an unlawful deprivation of liberty. The High Court extended the inherent jurisdiction to regularise the position of a capacitous detained mental health patient subject to restrictions as part of his conditional discharge which satisfied the objective elements of a deprivation of liberty (firstly, it was clear that there was no legislative provision governing this situation in that the Mental Health Act provided no remedy; secondly, it was in the interests of justice; and, thirdly, there were sound and strong public policy justifications). The court order: authorised the deprivation of liberty for 12 months; required the applicant to apply to court if the restrictions increase, and no less than one month before the expiry of the authorisation; and provided for a review on the papers unless a party requests or the court requires an oral hearing.

Re HC (A Minor: Deprivation of Liberty) (2018) EWHC 2961 (Fam)

DOL of child

"HC has just turned 13 years of age. I shall refer to his parents in this judgment as, respectively, M and F, and to his brother as B. HC currently lives in a residential unit in Yorkshire ("the unit"). By application dated 18th July 2018, the local authority responsible for HC's placement asks that the court determine whether HC's placement constitutes a deprivation of his liberty and, if this question is answered in the affirmative, for authorisation, by way of declaratory relief pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction. ... Although the LA brings the application, it does not assert a position one way or the other in relation to whether HC's placement at the unit constitutes a deprivation of his liberty. Exploring this rather unusual position with Ms Shaikh, I was told that the LA sought only to present the facts to the court and to leave it to me to adjudge whether the particular regime and its inherent restrictions constitutes a deprivation of liberty. In the event that I do so find, the LA seeks authorisation of the deprivation as being necessary and proportionate."

Re KT (2018) EWCOP 1

Role of COP Visitor in DOL cases

"These are four test cases that were stayed in accordance with my decision in Re JM [2016] EWCOP 15, [2016] MHLO 31. ... There are now over 300 such cases in which the MoJ and DoH (alone or together with the relevant applicant local authority or other public body) have not been able to identify a professional who the COP could appoint to act as P's Rule 3A representative. ... The first issue raised in these test cases is whether a welfare order approving a care plan advanced as being uncontroversial and which authorises any DOL caused by its implementation will have been made by a procedure that satisfies the minimum procedural requirements of Article 5 and common law fairness if P's participation in the proceedings is through the appointment of a general visitor to prepare a report under s. 49 of the MCA and that report supports the making of that welfare order. If the answer to that question is in the affirmative, the following issues arise, namely: (i) What approach should be taken by the COP to choosing this option or other options and in particular the appointment of a professional Rule 3A representative? (ii) What directions should be given to a visitor on what he should do and report on? (iii) Should the Crown be or remain as a Respondent? ... I have therefore concluded ... that periodic reviews by the COP with the benefit of information provided by a visitor meets the procedural requirements."

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 RD (Deprivation or Restriction of Liberty) (2018) EWFC 47

"The court is concerned in this application with the circumstances of RD. She is 14½ years old. She is currently the subject of an application for a care order under Part IV Children Act 1989, and is in the interim care of Northumberland County Council. ... RD has been placed by the Local Authority at a residential placement in Scotland, which I shall call Lennox House. ... The issue for my determination is whether the regime which applies to RD at Lennox House deprives her of her liberty in such a way as to engage her Article 5 ECHR rights. ... The implications of my determination are not insignificant. If I were to find as a fact that RD is deprived of her liberty in Article 5 terms, I would feel obliged to adjourn the Part IV proceedings, and would propose that the Local Authority present a petition to the nobile officium of the Court of Session seeking authorisation of that Court for RD's deprivation of liberty ... If I find that she is not deprived of her liberty, then there would be little impediment to my concluding the Part IV proceedings in this jurisdiction."

Royal Borough of Greenwich v CDM (2018) EWCOP 15

Fluctuating capacity

"In this case the patient is CDM, a lady aged 63 years. ... My Conclusions: (i) I conclude that CDM lacks capacity to conduct proceedings, as is agreed on behalf of CDM. (ii) I conclude that she does not have capacity to make decisions about her residence. ... (iii) By the end of the case the parties agreed that I should consider care and treatment separately. CDM carries out her own self-care, with encouragement, in the care home. I am not satisfied that she does not have the capacity so to do. There will be some occasions when she makes appropriate decisions, for example accepting insulin from the nurse, but there are many other occasions when she makes manifestly unwise decisions as a result of her personality disorder which impairs her ability to follow professional advice, whether in respect of her residence or treatment. I therefore accept Dr Series' evidence that when making appropriate decisions she has capacity but when making manifestly inappropriate decisions she lacks capacity. (iv) Property and affairs: I am troubled by the lack of evidence on this issue. ... I do not think I have any satisfactory evidence on which I can conclude that she lacks capacity in this area. (v) I conclude that she lacks capacity to surrender the tenancy of her property. This decision is intimately bound up with her ability to make decisions about residence. ... It follows and I so find that CDM lacks capacity in relation to the question whether or not she should be accommodated in CC (being the relevant hospital or care home) for the purpose of being given the relevant care or treatment. I therefore authorise her continued detention and deprivation of liberty in CC. ... This means that a further hearing will be required both to establish a mechanism under which the local authority can operate when capacity fluctuates and also to consider best interests."

SSJ v MM (2018) UKSC 60

The patient had capacity to and was prepared to consent to a conditional discharge requiring that he live at a particular place, which he would not be free to leave, and from which he would not be allowed out without an escort. (1) The Supreme Court decided 4-1 that the MHA 1983 does not permit either the First-tier Tribunal or the Secretary of State to impose conditions amounting to detention or a deprivation of liberty upon a conditionally discharged restricted patient. (2) The dissenting decision was that the tribunal has the power to impose such conditions so long as the loss of liberty is not greater than that already authorised by the hospital and restriction orders, and that this power does not depend on the consent of the (capacitous) patient.

Staffordshire County Council (18 004 809) (2019) MHLO 41 (LGSCO)

Failure to carry out DOLS assessments

LGSCO decision: "The Council has acted with fault in deciding not to assess low and medium priority Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards applications. The Council is also taking too long to deal with urgent applications. This is causing a potential injustice to the thousands of people in its area who are being deprived of their liberty without the proper checks that the restrictions they are subject to are in their best interests." The final sentence of the conclusion states: "[I]t is not acceptable that the only way low and medium priority applications are resolved is because the people involved move away or die."

Welsh Ministers v PJ (2018) UKSC 66

(1) There is no power to impose conditions in a CTO which have the effect of depriving a patient of his liberty. (2) The patient's situation may be relevant to the tribunal's discharge criteria, and the tribunal may explain the true legal effect of a CTO (for the RC to act on that information), but if a patient is being unlawfully detained then the remedy is either habeas corpus or judicial review.

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