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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."|
|LCN v KF (2019) EWCOP 1||Settlement of property on trust||"This is an application under section 18(1)(h) of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for the settlement of CJF's property on trust. ... By the time of the hearing it was expected that CJF would die in a matter of days. As noted earlier in this judgement, CJF died the following week. ... LCN [CJF's deputy] made an application on 20th November 2018 for the settlement of CJF's assets including his property at 1AY on revocable trust for himself during his lifetime and thereafter for 1AY to pass to EH [CFJ's daughter] and AH [EH's husband] and the residue of CJF's estate to pass to KF [CFJ's mother]. ... By the rules of intestacy, CJF's estate would be divided equally between KF and CJF's biological father, stated by KF to be BJF. This is subject to section 18 of the Family Law Reform Act 1987 which raises a rebuttable presumption that BJF pre-deceased CJF as his name did not appear on CJF's birth certificate. KF was able to contact BJF, but only through social media. That contact was sufficient, in my view, to rebut the presumption. If the court did not approve the settlement of CJF's property, it would be divided equally between KF and BJF with nothing passing to EH and AH. It would be open to EH and AH to make an application under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, but the outcome of such an application was uncertain. ... In this case, I consider that there were exceptional circumstance justifying proceeding without BJF being notified. These circumstances were his complete lack of involvement in CJF's life and care and his denial of paternity. There was a genuine urgency and balancing the prejudice of proceeding in the absence of BJF with the prejudice to EH and AH of not proceeding, I considered that the hearing had to take place despite the lack of service on BJF. It was agreed between the parties, and I ordered, that attempts should be made after the hearing to locate BJF and serve him with a copy of the final order so that it would be open to him to apply to set aside or vary it. ... The parties agree, and I find, that the authorities on the making of a statutory will apply to the settlement of CJF's estate in this case. I was advised by Miss Hughes that between 1925 and 1959 the Court had no power to make a statutory will and so would have approved settlement trusts as an alternative. ... All agreed that 1AY should pass to EH and AH and that the residue of the estate should pass to KF. I take that agreement into account and see no reason to depart from it. ... The question remains whether AH and EH should be effectively liable for some of the Inheritance Tax liability or whether the liability should all be borne by the estate, and in effect KF. ... I do not consider that it would be in CJF's best interests for there to be any risk to the security and stability of EH's and AH's home and therefore I consider that they should inherit 1AY effectively free of Inheritance Tax."|
|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||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."|