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Drilldown: Cases

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Cases > Subject : Bias or Disability discrimination or Inquests or Other criminal law cases or Reasons

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Page name Sentence Summary
CM v Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (2011) UKUT 129 (AAC)

Nature and degree

(1) The Tribunal's decision not to discharge was made in error of law, and was set aside, (a) because there was no real evidence to support its view that non-compliance with medication and the risk of consequent relapse in the near future would probably occur, (b) because it did not establish that in these circumstances it had complied with the 'least restriction principle', (c) because of the irrationality in paragraph 21 of its decision (in that as the risk was of what might eventually happen it was hard to see how the envisaged leave regime could test that risk), and (d) because continued detention for the purposes of avoiding a chaotic lifestyle or drug taking or the absence of drug counselling is not permitted by law on the facts of this case. (2) The judgment contains a discussion of the 'nature' and 'degree' tests.

DL-H v West London MH NHS Trust (2017) UKUT 387 (AAC)

Religious beliefs and tribunal expertise

Judicial summary from Gov.uk website: (1) "In deciding whether a patient is manifesting religious beliefs or mental disorder, a tribunal is entitled to take account of evidence from both religious and medical experts." (2) "A tribunal is entitled to use its own expertise to make a different diagnosis from those of the medical witnesses, provided it allows the parties a chance to make submissions and explains its decision."

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."

M v An NHS Trust (2017) MHLO 39 (UT)

Tribunal reasons

"[T]he tribunal's decision was made in error of law, but not [set aside]. In my grant of permission, I identified two possible errors of law. ... One of those errors was that the tribunal's reasons might be inadequate for being 'long on history and evidence but short on discussion.' ... There is, in truth, only one thing that really has to be said about the quality of reasons, which is that they must be adequate. Everything else is merely application of that principle to the circumstances of a particular case. ... [T]he second possible error [is] that the 'tribunal's reasoning shows that it was confused about its role and the [relevance] of a community treatment order'. ... [T]he reasons at least leave open the possibility that the tribunal may have strayed outside its proper remit. ... The first three sentences read: 'A cardinal issue of this application is whether the patient should be discharged from hospital by a CTO. This issue involves knowledge of the nature of a CTO. A CTO may only be imposed by the patient's RC ...' It may be that the judge did not express himself clearly, but that passage appears to begin by suggesting, and to continue by denying, that the tribunal had power to make Mr M subject to an order or was being asked to approve that course. The judge did then make a distinction between discharge from hospital and discharge from the liability to be detained. So it is possible that his reference to 'discharge from hospital by a CTO' may have been intended, not as a direction about the tribunal's powers on the application, but as a statement of how the responsible clinician envisaged Mr M's eventual progress. This interpretation would be consistent with what the tribunal said later ... In view of Mr M's current status [he had been discharged], I do not have to decide whether those reasons do or do not show that the tribunal misdirected itself. I limit myself to saying that it is risky if reasons can be read in a way that indicates a misdirection. ... Given that Mr M is no longer liable to be detained, I can see no need to venture outside the appropriate role of the Upper Tribunal in mental health cases and state, even in the form of a narrative declaration, that the tribunal should have exercised its power to discharge him. That is why I have exercised my power to refuse to set aside the tribunal's decision regardless of any error of law that it may have made."

Miller v DPP (2018) EWHC 262 (Admin)

Appropriate adult

"This is an appeal by way of case stated from a pre-trial ruling of the Black Country Magistrates' Court sitting at Dudley on 13 October 2016 in respect of an information preferred against the Appellant for failing to provide a specimen of blood in breach of section 7 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, not to exercise its discretion under section 78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to exclude evidence of the drug drive procedure at Oldbury Police Station that led to the charge being made. ... On 24 June 2016, the Appellant was stopped by the police on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs. When arrested and taken into custody, he behaved erratically and aggressively. It appears that he was known to the police as a person who had learning difficulties and autism. ... As Mr Scott submitted, the presence of an appropriate adult (whilst not being able to provide technical, legal or medical advice) would have provided the Appellant with the opportunity not only to have the question as to whether or not to provide a sample explained to him, but also to obtain an appreciation of the consequences of failing to do so. He points out that the offence of failing to provide a blood sample is predicated not only on the person's comprehension of the requirement to provide a sample, but also of the consequences of failing to do so in terms of criminal liability. The Appellant was clearly very exercised whilst being detained, and there is a very real possibility that the presence of an appropriate adult would have calmed him, and led him to behave differently and make different choices from those he in fact made. ... [H]aving found there to have been a breach of Code C in failing to inform and summon an appropriate adult to the police station, we do not consider that the magistrates did properly exercise their discretion under section 78 of PACE not to exclude the evidence of the drug drive procedure. Their reasoning was, unfortunately, fundamentally flawed; and, had they exercised their discretion properly, they would have been bound to have excluded the evidence of the drug drive procedure."

R (Hall) v SSJ (2018) EWHC 1905 (Admin)

Autism in prison

Unsuccessful judicial review by prisoner claiming breach of Equality Act 2010 reasonable adjustments duty.

R (Maguire) v HM Senior Coroner for Blackpool and Fylde (2020) EWCA Civ 738

Inquest and DOLS

"The issue for determination in this appeal is whether the circumstances surrounding the death of Jacqueline Maguire (known as Jackie) required the coroner to allow the jury at her inquest to return an expanded conclusion in accordance with section 5(2) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. ... Jackie was subject to a standard authorisation granted by Blackpool Council pursuant to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards set out in Schedule A1 to the Mental Capacity Act 2005. ... Jackie's circumstances were not analogous with a psychiatric patient who is in hospital to guard against the risk of suicide. She was accommodated by United Response to provide a home in which she could be looked after by carers, because she was unable to look after herself and it was not possible for her to live with her family. She was not there for medical treatment. If she needed medical treatment it was sought, in the usual way, from the NHS. Her position would not have been different had she been able to continue to live with her family with social services input and been subject to an authorisation from the Court of Protection in respect of her deprivation of liberty whilst in their care."

R (Maguire) v HM's Senior Coroner for Blackpool and Fylde (2019) EWHC 1232 (Admin)

Inquest and DOLS

"First, the claimant contends that the defendant erred in law by determining at the end of the evidence that article 2 no longer applied under Parkinson, thereby prejudging a matter that should have been left to the jury. Secondly, the Coroner erred in law by determining that the jury should not be directed to consider whether neglect should form part of their conclusion. ... That the case law has extended the positive duty beyond the criminal justice context in Osman is not in doubt. The reach of the duty, beyond what Lord Dyson called the "paradigm example" of detention, is less easy to define. We have reached the conclusion, however, that the touchstone for state responsibility has remained constant: it is whether the circumstances of the case are such as to call a state to account: Rabone, para 19, citing Powell. In the absence of either systemic dysfunction arising from a regulatory failure or a relevant assumption of responsibility in a particular case, the state will not be held accountable under article 2. ... We agree that a person who lacks capacity to make certain decisions about his or her best interests - and who is therefore subject to DOLS under the 2005 Act - does not automatically fall to be treated in the same way as Lord Dyson's paradigm example. In our judgment, each case will turn on its facts. ... [The Coroner] properly directed himself as to the appropriate test to apply to the issue of neglect and having done so declined to leave the issue to the jury."

R (Maughan) v Her Majesty's Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire (2019) EWCA Civ 809

Suicide burden of proof at inquests

"This appeal involves questions of importance concerning the law and practice of coroners' inquests where an issue is raised as to whether the deceased died by suicide. The questions can be formulated as follows: (1) Is the standard of proof to be applied the criminal standard (satisfied so as to be sure) or the civil standard (satisfied that it is more probable than not) in deciding whether the deceased deliberately took his own life intending to kill himself? (2) Does the answer depend on whether the determination is expressed by way of short-form conclusion or by way of narrative conclusion? Those are the questions falling for decision in this case; but to an extent they have also required some consideration of the position with regard to unlawful killing. ... I conclude that, in cases of suicide, the standard of proof to be applied throughout at inquests, and including both short-form conclusions and narrative conclusions, is the civil standard of proof."

R (Silvera) v HM Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire (2017) EWHC 2499 (Admin)

JR of decision not to resume inquest

"In this claim for judicial review Muhammad Silvera challenges the decision of the Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire not to resume the inquest into the death of his mother, Ms Vittoria Baker. It is submitted that the decision of the Senior Coroner not to resume the inquest and thereby to hold a full inquest into this death was unlawful. It is submitted that the Senior Coroner breached the investigative duty under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and was irrational and in breach of the duty at common law to fully investigate this death. ... The Senior Coroner refers in his letter of February 2016 to the 'Crown Court Trial' together with the two reports as being sufficient to satisfy Article 2 of the Convention. There was, in fact, no Crown Court trial. At an early hearing an acceptable plea was tendered and 'K' was made the subject of a hospital order. The two other investigations comprised an internal NHS Trust investigation that was carried out in private and the DHR was expressed to be private and confidential. ... In all the circumstances, this claim for judicial review should be allowed."

R v Spencer (1987) UKHL 2

Nurses' appeal against ill-treatment conviction

Six nurses appealed against convictions for ill-treating a patient contrary to s126 Mental Health Act 1959 (the old equivalent of MHA 1983 s127), three successfully.

R v Taj (2018) EWCA Crim 1743

Intoxication

(1) Appeal against conviction: "The defence sought to rely on self-defence as codified in s76 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 noting, in particular, s76(4)(b) which makes it clear that the defence is available even if the defendant is mistaken as to the circumstances as he genuinely believed them to be whether or not the mistake was a reasonable one for him to have made. Although s76(5) provides that a defendant is not entitled to rely upon any mistaken belief attributable to intoxication that was voluntarily induced, it was argued that as there was no suggestion that Taj had alcohol or drugs present in his system at the time, he was not 'intoxicated' and so was not deprived of the defence. It was also submitted that R v McGee, R v Harris, R v Coley [2013] EWCA Crim 223 supported the proposition that to be in a state of 'voluntarily intoxication' there had to be alcohol or drugs active in the system at the time of the offence. ... In our view, the words "attributable to intoxication" in s. 76(5) are broad enough to encompass both (a) a mistaken state of mind as a result of being drunk or intoxicated at the time and (b) a mistaken state of mind immediately and proximately consequent upon earlier drink or drug-taking, so that even though the person concerned is not drunk or intoxicated at the time, the short-term effects can be shown to have triggered subsequent episodes of e.g. paranoia. This is consistent with common law principles. We repeat that this conclusion does not extend to long term mental illness precipitated (perhaps over a considerable period) by alcohol or drug misuse. In the circumstances, we agree with Judge Dodgson, that the phrase "attributable to intoxication" is not confined to cases in which alcohol or drugs are still present in a defendant's system. It is unnecessary for us to consider whether this analysis affects the decision in Harris: it is sufficient to underline that the potential significance of voluntary intoxication in the two cases differs." The appeal against conviction was dismissed. (2) The application for leave to appeal against sentence was refused.

R v Tunstill (2018) EWCA Crim 1696

Infanticide wrongly withdrawn from jury

"This was a case where the child was killed soon after birth so that this case can be distinguished from the situation where mental ill health, usually post-partum psychosis, develops over a period of time. Nonetheless, there was evidence from Dr Bashir and Dr Khisty which showed that notwithstanding the existence of the appellant's pre-birth mental disorder, the effects of giving birth had led to a further condition, characterised by Dr Bashir as an acute stress reaction which was a causative factor in disturbing the balance of the appellant's mind. The issue of causation is a matter of fact for a jury after appropriate direction from a judge as to what can constitute a legally effective cause. For the reasons given, we consider that the effects of birth are not required by s.1(1) to be the sole cause of a disturbance of balance of the mind. In the circumstances, we are persuaded that the judge should not have withdrawn infanticide from the jury. There was evidence fit for the jury's consideration. It is not for this court to assess the likelihood of its success. Dr Barlow's evidence was to the contrary, but the issue for us is whether a jury should have had this alternative option to consider. We think it should have had that opportunity. In the circumstances, therefore, the conviction for murder is unsafe and the verdict is quashed. In our judgment, the interests of justice require a re-trial and we so order."

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."

RM v St Andrew's Healthcare (2010) UKUT 119 (AAC)

Non-disclosure of covert medication

(1) When considering the "interests of justice" limb of rule 14(2), the key test to be applied is whether or not non-disclosure of the document or information would allow the patient to make an effective challenge to his detention. (2) On the facts, without knowing that he was being covertly medicated the patient would be unable effectively to challenge his detention; the non-disclosure decision was set aside and re-made. (3) Non-disclosure orders should not only be drafted in terms of documents, but also should deal, in a precise, clear and exhaustive way, with the information which should not be disclosed.

Rushbrooke v HM Coroner for West London (2020) EWHC 1612 (Admin)

Inquest determination and findings quashed

The applicant, who had been the deceased's Relevant Person's Representative under a DOLS authorisation successfully argued for the inquest's determination and findings to be quashed.

SLL v Priory Healthcare Limited (2019) UKUT 323 (AAC)

Inadequate reasons for not absolutely discharging

The patient challenged the tribunal's decision to grant a conditional, rather than absolute, discharge. (1) Ground 1: Failure properly to apply the two-stage process required by s73(1) and (2). The MHRT had decided (under s73(1)) that the s72(1)(b)(i) (appropriateness) test was not met, and had moved straight to s73(2) (absolute or conditional discharge) without considering s72(1)(b)(ii) (necessity) or s72(1)(b)(iia) (appropriate treatment). The UT decided that the statute permitted the tribunal to stop once it had decided that it was not satisfied of the first s72 test. However, s73(2) required the tribunal to make findings on substantially similar matters, albeit on a forward-looking basis, and to make a decision on the type of discharge on the basis of those findings. Without express findings (in particular in relation to potential medical treatment for any psychotic condition the patient may suffer from) and an explanation of how the relevant factors were weighed (including the two factors discussed below) it was not possible to be sure how the tribunal reached its decision. The UT gave guidance in paras 33-35 on the findings likely to be required when considering s73(2), and in para 47 on the appropriateness of treatment with no realistic prospect of therapeutic benefit. (2) Ground 2: Failure to give adequate reasons. The Appellant had presented credible expert evidence that risk could be managed by future Part 2 detention rather than the recall power, so it was incumbent on the Tribunal to explain why it was not persuaded by that evidence: instead, it had merely quoted another doctor's evidence (which stated that recall would be available but did not grapple with the Part 2 issue) and said that this evidence was "more apt". The Appellant had also argued that the setting of a psychiatric hospital was positively harmful, and the tribunal had failed to explain its rejection of this argument. Taken as a whole it was not adequately clear why the tribunal was not satisfied that it was inappropriate for the Appellant to continue to be liable to recall to hospital for further treatment.

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