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|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."
|Public Guardian v DA (2018) EWCOP 26||
LPA wording - euthanasia and multiple attorneys
"This judgment concerns two test cases brought by the Public Guardian, by applications made under s.23 and Schedule 1 paragraph 11 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, regarding the validity of words in lasting powers of attorney ('LPAs'). The first concerns words relating to euthanasia or assisted suicide, whereas the second concerns words as to the appointment of multiple attorneys. Although the substance of the issues to which the words are directed is very different in the two cases, there is considerable overlap in the legal argument, the active parties were the same in the two sets of proceedings (the Public Guardian and the Official Solicitor) represented by the same counsel, and it is convenient to consider both cases in one judgment."
|Re BGO: Office of the Public Guardian v PGO (2019) EWCOP 13||
LPA witnessed by attorney
"Some time later one of the financial institutions to which the registered property and affairs LPA was sent noticed that BGO’s signature on the instrument had been witnessed by one of the attorneys (MAB), which is contrary to the requirements of Regulations. ... The Public Guardian applied to the Court for a determination as to whether or not the requirements for creation of an LPA were met, and directions as to whether the Public Guardian should cancel the registration of the instrument. ... The wording of paragraph 18 of Schedule 1 is mandatory. Because the requirements of execution have not been met, I must direct the Public Guardian to cancel the registration of BGO’s LPAs. ... For many donors, the failure of their LPA because of a defect in execution can be overcome by the relatively simple step of granting fresh powers, taking care to ensure that the requirements are met – an irritation perhaps and an expense but not an insurmountable hurdle. However, that option is not open to BGO. Sadly, before this defect was identified, BGO’s capacity had deteriorated to the point where she is unable to execute fresh LPAs. ... In the absence of attorneys to manage her property and affairs, the Court may appoint a deputy or deputies. ... In respect of health and welfare, the Court may also appoint a deputy or deputies if considered appropriate, although it does so much more rarely. However, pursuant to section 20(5) of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, a deputy cannot be given powers to refuse consent to the carrying out or continuation of life-sustaining treatment. In her welfare instrument, BGO had ticked the box to confirm that she wanted to give her attorneys this power. On the failure of her LPA, there is no means for the Court to give effect to her wishes in this respect. ... The Respondents are invited to make an application for appointment as property and affairs deputies for BGO. ... If the Respondents, or any of them, seek the appointment of a welfare deputy or deputies for BGO, they should also file at Court within 28 days a COP24 statement which sets out any welfare issues which require decisions to be made, why (having regard to s5 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005) an order is needed and why (having regard to section 16(4) of the Act) the decisions should be taken by a deputy rather than the Court."
|Re M: A v Z (2018) EWCOP 4||
"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."