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Drilldown: Cases

So far 270 cases have been added to the database, out of 2095 total cases on the website. To see the full list of cases go to the Mental health case law page.

The relevant pages (and summaries) are displayed at the bottom of this page.

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

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Parties:
A (2) · A Local Authority (1) · An NHS Trust (1) · B (1) · Ball (Kenneth) (1) · Blavo and Co Solictors Ltd (1) · C (2) · Care Quality Commission (1) · CB (1) · Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (1) · Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police (2) · Chief Constable of the Suffolk Police (1) · Christopher James Miller (1) · CM (2) · CNK Alliance Ltd (1) · Conway (1) · Costica Lazarel (1) · Derby City Council (1) · Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (1) · Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (1) · Desmond Maurice Fitzgerald (1) · Director of Public Prosecutions (1) · DL-H (1) · Dr Caroline Jane Ardron (1) · E (1) · F (1) · Hannah Griffiths (1) · Highland Health Board (1) · Hillgreen Care Ltd (1) · Humanists UK (1) · Jessica Griffiths (1) · JG (1) · John Blavo (3) · Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (1) · Law Society (1) · Local Authority (1) · Lord Chancellor (2) · M (3) · Mason (Michael Dennis) (1) · McCann (3) · Michael Gilchrist (1) · MSP Capital (1) · Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (1) · Not Yet Dead (UK) (1) · Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council (1) · Paul Sherratt (1) · Priory Healthcare Limited (2) · Rachel Julie Tunstill (1) · RM (1) · Robin Makin (1) · Rory MacDonald (1) · Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospital NHS Trust (1) · RR (1) · Secretary of State for Justice (4) · Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (3) · Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council (1) · Silviu Mitocariu (1) · Simon Burton (1) · Simon Taj (1) · SLL (1) · Smails (George Glenville) (1) · Sophie Griffiths (1) · Spencer (Alan Widdison) (1) · St Andrew's Healthcare (1) · State Hospitals Board for Scotland (2) · Stuart Hall (1) · Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (1) · Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council (1) · W (1) · West London Mental Health NHS Trust (1) · White (Paul) (1) · Z (1)

Showing below up to 36 results in range #1 to #36.

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Page name Sentence Summary
Ardron v Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (2018) EWHC 3157 (QB)

"The Claimant, Dr. Caroline Ardron, is a very experienced consultant psychiatrist employed by the Defendant [Trust]. The Trust considers it appropriate for Dr. Ardron to face disciplinary proceedings for alleged gross misconduct relating to her work at HMP Lewes in late 2015 and early 2016. At that time, Dr. Ardron was the responsible clinician of a young prisoner known as JO, who committed suicide by hanging himself on 12 February 2016. The proposed disciplinary proceedings relate, almost exclusively, to Dr. Ardron's care of JO including her record-keeping in that respect. Dr. Ardron does not suggest that disciplinary proceedings are inappropriate as a matter of principle, or that there is no case of misconduct that could be brought against her. However, she contends that there is no basis for a charge of gross misconduct; a charge which, if established, could potentially lead to the termination of her contract and serious ramifications for her including her prospects of obtaining subsequent employment. On 18 June 2018, an interlocutory injunction was granted by Mr. Pushpinder Saini QC, sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court, which restrained the Trust from proceeding until further order with a disciplinary hearing into gross misconduct. The question for resolution now is whether that injunction should be made permanent. That issue depends upon whether Dr. Ardron can prove that the Trust will breach her contract of employment by holding the proposed disciplinary hearing on a charge of gross misconduct. The Trust's intention to proceed to such a hearing was communicated in its letter to Dr. Ardron dated 20 March 2018, and the issue is therefore whether the Trust should be prevented from operating on the basis of that letter. The resolution of that issue depends principally upon the question of whether the facts found in an investigation into Dr. Ardron's conduct could, taken at their highest, amount to gross misconduct."

CB v SSWP (2020) UKUT 15 (AAC)

All-male and all-female panels

(1) It was unlawful of the tribunal to hear the ESA appeal in the applicant's absence; the decision was set aside and the case remitted to a new panel. (2) The judgment contains obiter comments about the request for an all-female panel.

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.

CQC v Hillgreen Care Ltd (2018) MHLO 50

Prosecution of care home provider

(1) The care home provider charged with failing between 1/4/15 and 1/12/15 to comply with the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 by failing to provide care and treatment in a safe way for service users (reg 12) and failing to put in place, and operate effectively, systems and processes to protect service users from abuse, including sexual abuse (reg 13). The provider had known since 2004 that its resident XX posed risk a of causing sexual abuse. Following an allegation of anal rape of a woman in 2008 his care plan stated that he "identifies with both male and female around his sexual orientation" and that he "needs to be supported at all times and not to be left alone unsupervised when around other service users and when in the community". XX admitted to having sex with two other residents, neither of whom had capacity to consent: a female resident AA in April 2015 and a male resident YY on 1/11/18. The provider had not followed the care plan and the district judge concluded that "[t]he incident with YY could not have happened had there been an extra member of staff on duty to watch XX and where he went." It was found guilty of both charges and was fined £300,000. (2) The judgement states that the CQC's inspection of the care home and seizure of documents took place on 27/7/17: this is the same day as a critical article in the Times (Andrew Norfolk, 'CQC covered up suspected rape in care home' (Times, 27/7/17)). Information about the chronology can be found in the CQC's subsequent report (CQC, 'CQC publishes independent investigation into its regulation of 14 Colne Road' (press release, 13/6/18)).

Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v Derby City Council (2019) EWHC 3436 (Ch)

Charitable status of foundation trusts

Seventeen NHS foundation trusts argued that, as foundation trusts, they were entitled under s43(5) Local Government Finance Act 1988 to the four-fifths reduction in non-domestic rates because they were charities and the relevant properties were wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes. The High Court answered the preliminary question "Whether the Lead Claimant is a charity for the purposes of section 43(6) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988?" in the negative.

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."

Gilchrist v Greater Manchester Police (2019) EWHC 1233 (QB)

Police use of force

"I recognise that this was a challenging situation for the police officers. They were faced with an individual who presented as very angry, covered in blood and with whom they were unable to communicate. Prior to Andrew Gilchrist's explanation, their assumption that Michael Gilchrist was an aggressor who, probably, had assaulted someone and needed to be detained, was reasonable. In those circumstances, their initial actions to attempt to bring him under control using CS gas and Taser were justified, reasonable and proportionate. However, once they were appraised of his vulnerability as an autistic man, and his behaviour suggested that he was defensive rather than aggressive, a more cautious approach should have been adopted. The further use of Taser, which had already proved to be ineffective, and following the use of CS gas, was inappropriate. The alternative course mandated by PS Morris, namely, using the force of the officers available to take Mr Gilchrist to the ground and restrain him without using weapons was a reasonable and proportionate response."

Griffiths v Chief Constable of Suffolk Police, and Norfolk and Suffolk NHSFT (2018) EWHC 2538 (QB)

Claim following decision not to admit under MHA

"This case arises out of the murder of Mary Griffiths by John McFarlane on 6 May 2009 in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. The Claimants are her three daughters, suing by their father and litigation friend. They seek damages from the Chief Constable of the Suffolk Police, the 'Suffolk Police', and North and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, the 'NHS Trust', the first and second Defendants. ... The claim, put very shortly, is that the NHS Trust assessment under the Mental Health Act, MHA, was flawed in a number of respects, and that Mr McFarlane ought to have been admitted to hospital, voluntarily or compulsorily, on 3 May 2009, which would have prevented him being in a position to murder Ms Griffiths on 6 May. In any event, the NHS Trust should have warned her that Mr McFarlane was a danger to her, and they ought also to have communicated with the Suffolk Police. This would have affected the way in which they, in turn, addressed Ms Griffiths' concerns when she telephoned them on 5 May 2009. The Suffolk Police, in any event, ought to have graded Ms Griffiths' call as more serious than they did, and ought to have sent someone round that night. That person would have realised that the situation was more threatening than had the call-taker, and steps would have been taken to protect Ms Griffiths, who faced a real and immediate risk from Mr McFarlane, to remove her from danger, or to warn or detain Mr McFarlane."

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."

John Blavo v Law Society (2018) EWCA Civ 2250

Intervention costs statutory demands

The Law Society successfully appealed against a decision to set aside two statutory demands (of £151,816.27 and £643,489.20) which had been served on John Blavo in relation to costs incurred in respect of the intervention into his practice.

Lord Chancellor v Blavo and Co Solictors Ltd (2018) EWHC 3556 (QB)

John Blavo personally ordered to repay Legal Aid claims

The High Court gave judgment for the Lord Chancellor against John Blavo in the sum of £22,136,001.71 following the allegation that Blavo & Co made dishonest claims for payment on the legal aid fund for thousands of cases where it was not entitled to any fee.

Lord Chancellor v John Blavo (2016) EWHC 126 (QB), (2016) MHLO 6

Freezing order continued

There was a strongly arguable case that John Blavo was party to an arrangement whereby false claims were submitted to the LAA in many thousands of cases, there was evidence of a less than scrupulous approach to his duty of disclosure to the Court, and evidence of a recent attempt improperly to put property beyond the reach of the Lord Chancellor. Taking these matters together there was a real risk that any judgment would go unsatisfied because of disposal of assets. Given the sums of money involved and the admitted financial difficulties it was just and convenient in all the circumstances to continue the freezing order. (The precursor to the official investigation was an audit during which 49 files were passed to the LAA's counter-fraud team, whose conclusions included: "In respect of 42 of these 49 files HMCTS have confirmed that they have no record of there having been tribunal proceedings either in respect of the individual client or on the date when the file indicates...Following this, the LAA made inquiries of the NHS on a selection of files among the 42 that had no tribunal hearing and the NHS confirmed that they have no records relating to 16 of the clients... After completing this analysis the Applicant undertook a further comparison of all mental health tribunal claims against the HMCTS system. As a result of this analysis, it was found that the Company had submitted a total of 24,658 claims for attendance at tribunals of which 1485 (6%) tribunals were recorded by HMCTS as having taken place... After visiting the Company's Head Office and requesting documentation from the Company and the Respondent, the LAA team used an electronic sampling tool to randomly select 144 cases for further investigation, across the last three complete financial years. Only 3% could be evidenced from HMCTS records...")

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."

MacDonald v Burton (2020) EWHC 906 (QB)

Audio recording of neuropsychological testing

(1) The defendant was allowed to carry its neuropsychological examination of the claimant without being subjected to any kind of recording of that examination: a level playing field could not be achieved where the claimant had not recorded the examination and testing by his own expert but where the examination testing by the defendant's expert was so recorded. (2) The judge discussed the question of any privilege which may exist in any recordings that are made. (3) The judge hoped that the forthcoming British Psychological Association guidance would recognise the competing interests and would not merely state that psychological examinations and testing should never be recorded.

McCann v State Hospitals Board for Scotland (2014) CSIH 71

Scottish smoking ban

The smoking ban at Carstairs Hospital, which at first instance had been declared to be unlawful, was decided on appeal to be lawful.

McCann v State Hospitals Board for Scotland (2017) UKSC 31

Scottish smoking ban

"This is a challenge by application for judicial review to the legality of the comprehensive ban on smoking at the State Hospital at Carstairs which the State Hospitals Board for Scotland adopted by a decision taken at a meeting on 25 August 2011 and implemented on 5 December 2011. The appellant, Mr McCann, does not challenge the ban on smoking indoors. His challenge relates only to the ban on smoking in the grounds of the State Hospital and on home visits, which, by creating a comprehensive ban, prevents detained patients from smoking anywhere. ... Mr McCann raises three principal issues in his challenge. First, he argues that the impugned decision is invalid at common law on the ground of ultra vires because, when so deciding, it did not adhere to the principles laid down in section 1 of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 (which I set out in para 22 below) or comply with the requirements of subordinate legislation made under the 2003 Act. Secondly, he submits that the impugned decision was unlawful because it unjustifiably interfered with his private life and thereby infringed his right to respect for his private life under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Thirdly, founding on article 14 of ECHR in combination with article 8, he argues that the Board, by implementing the comprehensive smoking ban, has treated him in a discriminatory manner which cannot be objectively justified when compared with (i) people detained in prison, (ii) patients in other hospitals (whether detained or not) or (iii) members of the public who remain at liberty. ... [T]he prohibition on having tobacco products and the related powers to search and confiscate are in my view illegal and fall to be annulled. ... [B]ut for the illegality under our domestic law of the prohibition of possession of tobacco products, the searches and the confiscation of tobacco products which are part of the impugned decision, I would have held that the decision was not contrary to Mr McCann’s article 8 right to respect for his private life. ... The article 14 challenge ... fails."

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."

Oldham MBC v Makin (2017) EWHC 2543 (Ch)

Disposal of Ian Brady's body

"This claim concerns the question of whether certain orders should be made in respect of the disposal of the body of Ian Stewart-Brady, formerly Ian Brady, one of the infamous Moors murderers."

Priory Healthcare Limited v Highland Health Board (2019) CSOH 17

Contractual dispute between Health Board and independent hospital company

A patient from Scotland travelled to England and was detained at a Priory hospital, and for a few months the Highland Health Board paid the £540-per-day fee. When the Health Board decided to stop paying, the Priory unsuccessfully argued that the that the Health Board was contractually obliged to meet the continuing cost of the patient's care.

R (Conway) v SSJ (2018) EWCA Civ 1431

Assisted suicide

"This is an appeal from the order dated 5 October 2017 of the Divisional Court (Sales LJ, Whipple and Garnham JJ) dismissing the claim of the appellant, Mr Noel Conway, for a declaration under section 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998 in respect of section 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961, which imposes a blanket ban on assisted suicide. Mr Conway contends that section 2(1) constitutes a disproportionate interference with his right to respect for his private life under Article 8(1) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms."

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 (Mitocariu) v Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (2018) EWHC 126 (Admin)

Hospital pocket money

Two hospital order patients contended that if for any reason they were not in receipt of benefits then the trust should provide regular payments to ensure their dignity was maintained whilst in care. (1) The trust did have a power, arising from s43 NHS Act 2006 (which identified the functions of foundation trusts), and either s46 or s47 (which provided sufficiently general powers), to make payments to patients. Any contract with NHS England purporting to restrict the statutory power would be ultra vires. Similarly, any payment outside the s43 purposes (namely, the provision of services to individuals for or in connection with the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of illness and the promotion and protection of public health) would be ultra vires. (2) The amount, timing and frequency of payments was a matter for the discretion of the Defendant, taking into account all relevant factors, including the specific therapeutic requirements of the patient. (3) A standardised approach of making regular payments irrespective of and unrelated to the therapeutic needs of the patient, as sought by the Claimants, would be outside the powers granted to a foundation trust. (4) On the facts, the Defendant had lawfully exercised its power: the financial circumstances of the patients were regularly considered and addressed appropriately (e.g. paying for a winter coat and travel costs). (5) The absence of a policy did not mean that the Defendant had acted unlawfully.

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 A (A Patient, now deceased) (No 4) (2018) EWCOP 17

Miscellaneous

"On 24 July 2018, Mr Fitzgerald issued an application in the Family Division of the High Court of Justice, under number FD13P90056, seeking an order that, as President of the Family Division, I 'withdraw from public record Judgement EWCOP16 [2018] on the grounds that: (1) It is not given in any recognised court or jurisdiction; (2) It misrepresents the evidence presented in Application; (3) It displays transparent bias and injudicious prejudice.' ... Mr Fitzgerald's latest application is totally without merit. It is a time-wasting abuse of the process, which I accordingly strike out. If Mr Fitzgerald continues to display such forensic incontinence, he may find himself again subject to an extended civil restraint order."

Re C (Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage: Fact Finding) (2019) EWHC 3449 (Fam)

Vulnerable witnesses

Paragraphs 14-18 deal with "Assessing the Evidence of Vulnerable Witnesses", including the following: "Despite my very considerable sympathy for witnesses with significant vulnerabilities such as the mother in this case, my clear view is that there is one standard of proof which applies without modification irrespective of the characteristics of witnesses, including vulnerable witnesses to whom Part 3A and PD3AA apply. I observe that many vulnerable witnesses are just as likely as anyone else either to tell the truth or to lie deliberately or misunderstand events. It would be unfair and discriminatory to discount a witness's evidence because of their inherent vulnerabilities (including mental and cognitive disabilities) and it would be equally wrong in principle not to apply a rigorous analysis to a witness's evidence merely because they suffer from mental, cognitive or emotional difficulties. To do otherwise would, in effect, attenuate the standard of proof when applied to witnesses of fact with such vulnerabilities. ... Having said that, I offer the following observations, none of them particularly novel, which might assist in assessing the evidence of vulnerable witnesses, particularly those with learning disabilities. First, it is simplistic to conclude that the evidence of such a witness is inherently unreliable. Second, it is probably unfair to expect the same degree of verbal fluency and articulacy which one might expect in a witness without those problems. Third, it is important not to evaluate the evidence of such a witness on the basis of intuition which may or may not be unconsciously biased. Finally, it is important to take into account and make appropriate allowances for that witness's disability or vulnerability, assisted by any expert or other evidence available."

Re C (Lay Advocates) (2019) EWHC 3738 (Fam)

Lay advocates in public law family proceedings

"In my judgment that there is no material difference between the services provided by an interpreter, an intermediary or a lay advocate insofar as they each enable and support parties and witnesses to communicate and understand these proceedings. HMCTS routinely pay for the services of interpreters and intermediaries, I cannot see any principled reason why it should not also pay for the services of lay advocates in an appropriate case. ... Accordingly, I will appoint a lay advocate for the mother and a lay advocate for the father. They cost £30 per hour which I consider to be entirely reasonable. I have assessed the likely number of hours of work on this for the lay advocates to be 50 hours."

Re CM (Judicial Review) (2013) CSOH 143

Scottish smoking ban

"The petitioner asks the court to declare that the respondents' 'policy of a complete smoking ban and prohibition of possession of tobacco products by patients at the State Hospital' is unlawful; and also to declare that the respondents' policy has breached the petitioner's human rights, specifically article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to respect for private life and home) as a stand-alone claim and in combination with article 14 ECHR (enjoyment of Convention rights without discrimination) and the first protocol, article 1 ECHR (right not to be deprived of property) as a stand-alone claim and in combination with article 14 ECHR (enjoyment of Convention rights without discrimination). ... I have come to the view, though with reluctance, that the decision to compel the petitioner to stop smoking was flawed in every possible way. In that it relied on compulsion, the decision was contrary to the national policy which it purported to implement. The decision should have been made with reference to the section 1 principles of the 2003 Act but was not, and was in contravention of the obligations imposed by section 1 on the respondents. The respondents did not, for example, take account of the petitioner's wishes, or provide him with the requisite information; and on no reasonable view could they have reached the conclusion that the smoking ban, to the extent that it was necessary, was implemented in 'the manner that involves the minimum restriction on the freedom of' the petitioner. Whether or not consultation is a legal requirement, if it is embarked on it must be carried out properly. I am satisfied that the compulsory 'comprehensive smoke-free' regime was a foregone conclusion and that the consultation exercise was not a meaningful one... If article 8 ECHR is engaged, and I hold that it is, it is for the respondents to justify interfering with the petitioner's right to make his own decision about smoking. They have failed to do so satisfactorily. Indeed, I am satisfied that the decision to stop the petitioner smoking in the hospital grounds constituted interference with the petitioner's article 8 ECHR rights without lawful warrant - because it was not made in accordance with section 1 principles - and because it went further than was necessary to achieve the legitimate aim in question, namely to protect third parties from the petitioner's cigarette smoke. The respondents have also failed to demonstrate an 'objective and reasonable justification' for treating the petitioner differently from adult, long-term prisoners, who can smoke if they wish. Going further, on the material presented to me and in the absence of any other suggestion, it appears that the only justification for imposing a smoking ban on mental health detainees like the petitioner and not on penal detainees is that it is feasible to compel mental health detainees to stop smoking because of their vulnerability. This is not a legitimate justification. Accordingly I hold that there has been a violation of the petitioner's right not to be discriminated against in the enjoyment of his article 8 ECHR rights contrary to article 14 ECHR."

Re E (2020) MHLO 52 (FTT)

Condition removed from conditional discharge

The tribunal added a condition to the written reasons which was not stated at the hearing: "Abide by the rules applicable to such accommodation in particular to sleep there every night and not to have overnight guests." There had been a clear error of law and the condition was removed: (a) the tribunal had failed to address in its decision why it had made the conditions it made; (b) it was required to provide a brief explanation; (c) it was also required to announce the conditions that the patient was subject to in exact terms, which was crucial given that the patient was being conditionally discharged immediately." [First-tier Tribunal decisions are useful not not binding.]

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 W (2020) UKUT 155 (AAC)

Non-application of forfeiture rule

The forfeiture rule ("the rule of public policy which in certain circumstances precludes a person who has unlawfully killed another from acquiring a benefit in consequence of the killing") can be modified in the interests of justice but not following a conviction for murder. The Secretary of State initially argued that W had been convicted of murder. The Crown Court had found that, in relation to his wife's killing, W was unfit to plead but had done the act. The Upper Tribunal equated this with a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity, which for forfeiture rule purposes amounts to an acquittal, so there was no conviction and the forfeiture rule did not apply.

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.

RR v SSWP (2019) UKSC 52

ECHR and subordinate legislation

(1) There is nothing unconstitutional about a public authority, court or tribunal disapplying a provision of subordinate legislation which would otherwise result in their acting incompatibly with a Convention right, where this is necessary in order to comply with the Human Rights Act 1998. (2) On the facts of this case, the public authority should disobey Regulation B13 of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 and retrospectively apply the Supreme Court's decision in R (Carmichael) v SSWP [2016] UKSC 58B that the "bedroom tax" was an unjustified discrimination on the ground of disability where there was a transparent medical need for an additional bedroom.

Sherratt v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police (2018) EWHC 1746 (QB)

Negligence claim about 999 call

"The claim arises out of the death of the Deceased who was found dead at her home on the morning of the 30th of January 2012. For present purposes it is accepted that the Deceased took her own life. There are two pleaded causes of action: common law negligence and alleged breaches of convention rights under the Human Rights Act 1998. The Recorder, as I am, was concerned only with the negligence claim and then only with the issue as to the existence of a duty of care owed to the Deceased. Issues as to breach of any such duty or issues as to causation were not before the Recorder. The pleaded particulars of negligence amount to allegations that the defendant, either by his officers, employees or agents, failed expeditiously and/or adequately to deal with, and/or respond to, the information conveyed to them concerning the Deceased in a 999 call made by the Deceased's mother."

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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