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Drilldown: Cases

Not many cases (259 of them) have been added to the database so far. To see the full list of cases (2085) go to the Mental health case law page.

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Cases > Subject : Bias or Reporting restriction order cases or Other & Parties : B or C or Lord Chancellor

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Page name Sentence Summary
AM (Afghanistan) v SSHD (2017) EWCA Civ 1123

Immigration tribunal - fair hearing, litigation friends

In this judgment the Court of Appeal gave guidance on the general approach to be adopted in FTT and UT immigration and asylum cases to the fair determination of claims for asylum from children, young people and other incapacitated or vulnerable persons whose ability to effectively participate in proceedings may be limited. In relation to litigation friends, despite there being no provision in the tribunal rules for litigation friends, the court decided that: "[T]here is ample flexibility in the tribunal rules to permit a tribunal to appoint a litigation friend in the rare circumstance that the child or incapacitated adult would not be able to represent him/herself and obtain effective access to justice without such a step being taken. In the alternative, even if the tribunal rules are not broad enough to confer that power, the overriding objective in the context of natural justice requires the same conclusion to be reached."

B v A Local Authority (2019) EWCA Civ 913

(1) Overlap between different decisions; (2) Sex

(1) "The important questions on these appeals are as to the factors relevant to making the determinations of capacity which are under challenge and as to the approach to assessment of capacity when the absence of capacity to make a particular decision would conflict with a conclusion that there is capacity to make some other decision." (2) The Court of Appeal also decided on what is necessary to have capacity to consent to sexual relations.

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...")

Mazhar v Lord Chancellor (2017) EWHC 2536 (Fam)

Inherent jurisdiction

"This is a claim brought under sections 6, 7(1)(a), 8(1) and 9(1)(c) of the Human Rights Act 1998 against the Lord Chancellor in respect of a judicial act. The act in question is an order made by a High Court judge, Mr Justice Mostyn, who was the Family Division out of hours applications judge on the late evening of Friday, 22 April 2016. The order was made on the application of Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. It was an urgent, without notice, out of hours application made in respect of the claimant, Mr Aamir Mazhar. ... Mr Mazhar seeks to argue that the inherent jurisdiction cannot be used to detain a person who is not of unsound mind for the purposes of article 5(1)(e) of the Convention and that a vulnerable person's alleged incapacity as a result of duress or undue influence is not a basis to make orders in that jurisdiction that are other than facilitative of the person recovering, retaining or exercising his capacity. His removal and detention were accordingly unlawful and in breach of article 5. He also seeks to argue that his article 6 rights were engaged such that the absence of any challenge by the judge to his capacity and/or the evidence of the NHS Trust and the absence of any opportunity to challenge those matters himself or though his family or representatives before the order was executed was an unfair process. He says that his article 8 right to respect for family and private life was engaged and that the order was neither necessary nor in accordance with the law. ... The consequence is that I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing in the HRA (taken together with either the CPR or the FPR) that provides a power in a court or tribunal to make a declaration against the Crown in respect of a judicial act. Furthermore, the HRA has not modified the constitutional principle of judicial immunity. Likewise, the Crown is not to be held to vicariously liable for the acts of the judiciary with the consequence that the claim for a declaration is not justiciable in the Courts of England and Wales. A claim for damages against the Crown is available to Mr Mazhar for the limited purpose of compensating him for an article 5(5) breach but the forum for such a claim where the judicial act is that of a judge of the High Court cannot be a court of co-ordinate jurisdiction. On the facts of this case, the only court that can consider a damages claim is the Court of Appeal. If Mr Mazhar wants to pursue his challenge to the order of Mostyn J he must do so on appeal."

R (EG) v Parole Board (2020) EWHC 1457 (Admin)

Parole Board representation for those lacking capacity

(1) The Parole Board Rules 2019 introduced a power to appoint a representative "where the prisoner lacks the capacity to appoint a representative and the panel chair or duty member believes that it is in the prisoner's best interests for the prisoner to be represented". In the absence of anything similar to the accreditation system operating in the MHT (and the LAA's pragmatic approach to the regulation preventing providers from making an application for Legal Aid) a solicitor cannot "assume the dual role of legal representative and litigation friend" and so this appointment power cannot be exercised. (2) The 2019 rules, although silent on the matter, allow for the appointment of a litigation friend because: (a) "other representative" in the expression "solicitor, barrister or other representative" includes litigation friend; and, if that is wrong, (b) as with the 2016 rules, it is allowed when necessary under the general power to make directions. (3) In the absence of an accreditation scheme or other litigation friend, the prisoner needed the Official Solicitor to act if his parole review was to progress; (obiter) the OS has the statutory power to act in Parole Board proceedings. (4) The judge limited her decision to issues concerning EG individually, and criticised counsel for EG and the EHRC for continuing the trend in public law litigation of grounds of challenge evolving during proceedings in a way which lacked procedural rigour (in this case, by raising wider issues including the identification and assessment of non-capacitous prisoners and the Public Sector Equality Duty).

R (JS) v SSHD (2019) UKUT 64 (IAC)

Litigation friends for children in immigration tribunal proceedings

The Upper Tribunal provided mainly age-based guidance on whether a child applicant in immigration proceedings requires a litigation friend, and on the role of the litigation friend.

R v C (2008) EWCA Crim 1155

Capacity to consent to sexual activity

If the complainant consented to sexual activity against her inclination because she was frightened of the defendant, even if her fear was irrational and caused by her mental disorder, it did not follow that she lacked the capacity to choose whether to agree to sexual activity. [Overturned on appeal.]

R v C (2009) UKHL 42

Sexual consent

For the purposes of s30 Sexual Offences Act 2003: (1) lack of capacity to choose can be person or situation specific; (2) an irrational fear arising from mental disorder that prevents the exercise of choice could amount to a lack of capacity to choose; (3) inability to communicate could be as a result of a mental or physical disorder.

Re B (2020) MHLO 18 (FTT)

Direction for postponement of CTO hearing set aside

The initial decision indefinitely to postpone a CTO patient's hearing (in accordance with Mental Health Tribunal, 'Order and directions for all community patients who are subject to a CTO or conditional discharge and who have applied or been referred to the tribunal for the duration of the Pilot Practice Direction' (26/3/20)) was set aside by the First-tier Tribunal.

Re B (Capacity: Social Media: Care and Contact) (2019) EWCOP 3

Social media and sexual relations

"By this judgment, I set out my conclusions in relation to a range of capacity questions on issues relevant to Miss B’s life, including her capacity: (i) To litigate in these proceedings...; (ii) To manage her property and affairs...; (iii) To decide where she resides...; (iv) To decide on her package of care...; (v) To decide with whom she has contact...; (vi) To use the internet and communicate by social media; (specifically, it is agreed that the question is ‘whether Miss B has capacity to make a decision to use social media for the purposes of developing or maintaining connections with others’)...; (vii) To consent to sexual relations... It is clear that the information relevant to the decision in this area includes: (i) the sexual nature and character of the act of sexual intercourse, the mechanics of the act; (ii) the reasonably foreseeable consequences of sexual intercourse, namely pregnancy; (iii) the opportunity to say no; i.e. to choose whether or not to engage in it and the capacity to decide whether to give or withhold consent to sexual intercourse. (iv) that there are health risks involved, particularly the acquisition of sexually transmitted and transmissible infections; (v) that the risks of sexually transmitted infection can be reduced by the taking of precautions such as the use of a condom."

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 D: A v B (2020) EWCOP 1

Court of Protection permission

(1) The appropriate threshold for permission under MCA 2005 s50 is the same as that applicable in the field of judicial review: to gain permission the claimant or applicant has to demonstrate a good arguable case. (2) In the current case, the decision to be made was "whether a good arguable case has been shown that it is in [D's] best interests for there to be a full welfare investigation of the current contact arrangements" and the judge's conclusion was: "I cannot say that I am satisfied that the mother has shown a good arguable case that a substantive application would succeed if permission were granted."

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."

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v C (2020) EWCOP 10

Treatment despite religious delusions

(1) Having previously undergone two hysteroscopies, and initially consented to removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes, C disengaged, expressed religious views (such as that only God could cure her cancer), and was assessed as lacking capacity. The judge decided that "she clearly lacked capacity and her rejection of the treatment, which is clinically so manifestly in her best interests, is predicated on a delusional belief structure which manifests itself in the language of religion". (2) The delay in this case, which was attributable to the treating clinicians not initially knowing C had paranoid schizophrenia, and their reluctance to contemplate coercion, should not have happened and likely stressed C and her family, but had not led to neglect of the cancer.

Wye Valley NHS Trust v B (2015) EWCOP 60

Amputation - religious beliefs

"The issue in this case is whether it is lawful for the doctors treating Mr B, a 73-year-old gentleman with a severely infected leg, to amputate his foot against his wishes in order to save his life. Without the operation, the inevitable outcome is that he will shortly die, quite possibly within a few days. If he has the operation, he may live for a few years. Mr B also has a long-standing mental illness that deprives him of the capacity to make the decision for himself. The operation can therefore only be lawfully performed if it is in his best interests. ... Having considered all of the evidence and the parties' submissions, I have reached the clear conclusion that an enforced amputation would not be in Mr B's best interests. Mr B has had a hard life. Through no fault of his own, he has suffered in his mental health for half a century. He is a sociable man who has experienced repeated losses so that he has become isolated. He has no next of kin. No one has ever visited him in hospital and no one ever will. Yet he is a proud man who sees no reason to prefer the views of others to his own. His religious beliefs are deeply meaningful to him and do not deserve to be described as delusions: they are his faith and they are an intrinsic part of who he is. I would not define Mr B by reference to his mental illness or his religious beliefs. Rather, his core quality is his "fierce independence", and it is this that is now, as he sees it, under attack."

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