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Not many cases (230 of them) have been added to the database so far. To see the full list of cases (2057) go to the Mental health case law page.

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Cases > Subject : Bias or Sentence appeal cases or Testamentary capacity cases or Welfare benefits cases

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Page name Sentence Summary
Clitheroe v Bond (2020) EWHC 1185 (Ch)

Testamentary capacity

"This is a bitter family dispute between the Claimant brother and Defendant sister as to whether their mother, the deceased, had testamentary capacity to make each of her two wills and in addition or in the alternative whether either or both wills resulted from fraudulent calumny."

DB (as executor of the estate of OE) v SSWP (2018) UKUT 46 (AAC)

Social security appointeeship

"The main grievance of Mr B, who brings this appeal in his capacity as executor of his late Aunt Miss E’s estate, is the Secretary of State’s decision to make Birmingham City Council Miss E’s social security appointee. When the council were made Miss E’s appointee, Mr B held an enduring power of attorney authorising him to deal with her financial affairs. Appointment decisions do not attract a right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal. Neither that tribunal, nor the Upper Tribunal, has jurisdiction to entertain an ‘appeal’ against an appointment decision. However, I do have some concerns about the way in which the council’s appointment application was handled. I decide to express some views on that subject. My purpose in simply to provide some assistance to the DWP and local authorities in their efforts to operate the appointee system effectively and properly."

James v James (2018) EWHC 43 (Ch)

Banks v Goodfellow test for testamentary capacity survives MCA

"There is a preliminary question of law as to the test to be applied for testamentary capacity in a case like this, where the testator has made a will, died, and then the question of capacity has arisen. The traditional test for such a case is that laid down in Banks v Goodfellow (1870) LR 5 QB 549, 565, per Cockburn CJ: 'It is essential … that a testator shall understand the nature of his act and its effects; shall understand the extent of the property of which he is disposing; shall be able to comprehend and appreciate the claims to which he ought to give effect, and, with a view to the latter object, that no disorder of the mind shall poison his affections, avert his sense of right, or prevent the exercise of his natural faculties, that no insane delusion shall influence his will in disposing of his property and bring about a disposal of it which, if his mind had been sound, would not have been made.' ... More recently the Mental Capacity Act 2005 has made fresh provision for the law of mental capacity in certain situations. What is unfortunately not made express in that legislation is the extent to which this fresh provision affects the test for capacity to make a will when that question is being judged retrospectively (typically, though not necessarily, post mortem). ... The general rule of precedent, as applied in the High Court, is that that court is not strictly bound by decisions of co-ordinate jurisdiction, but will follow them as a matter of comity unless convinced they are wrong ... As it happens, I think the decision in Walker v Badmin [2014] EWHC 71 (Ch)Not on Bailii! [that the test in Banks v Goodfellow not only had survived the enactment of the 2005 Act, but that it, rather than anything in the Act, was still the sole test of capacity for judging will-making capacity in retrospect] is right, and for the reasons given by the deputy judge. ... Whilst it is a complication to have two tests for mental capacity in making wills, one prospective and the other retrospective, it is a complication created by the decision of Parliament to legislate as it has, a decision that the courts must respect."

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."

Parsonage v Parsonage (2019) EWHC 2362 (Ch)

Validity of will

" The validity of the 2011 Will is challenged by D1 on the grounds that BP lacked capacity (1) to know and understand the nature and effect of the 2011 Will, (2) to know and understand the size of her estate, and/or (3) to know and appreciate the claims to which she ought to give effect. The underlying factual basis of the challenge is the severity or extent of BP's dementia and the circumstances in which the 2011 Will was prepared and executed."

R v Edwards (2018) EWCA Crim 595

Sentencing guidance, including s37 and s45A

These four cases were listed before the court to consider issues arising from the sentencing of mentally ill offenders to indeterminate terms of imprisonment. (1) Comparison of release regimes under s37/41 and s45A. (2) Rules governing applications to this court to advance new grounds or fresh evidence. (3) General principles: "Finally, to assist those representing and sentencing offenders with mental health problems that may justify a hospital order, a finding of dangerousness and/or a s.45A order, we summarise the following principles we have extracted from the statutory framework and the case law. (i) The first step is to consider whether a hospital order may be appropriate. (ii) If so, the judge should then consider all his sentencing options including a s.45A order. (iii) In deciding on the most suitable disposal the judge should remind him or herself of the importance of the penal element in a sentence. (iv) To decide whether a penal element to the sentence is necessary the judge should assess (as best he or she can) the offender’s culpability and the harm caused by the offence. The fact that an offender would not have committed the offence but for their mental illness does not necessarily relieve them of all responsibility for their actions. (v) A failure to take prescribed medication is not necessarily a culpable omission; it may be attributable in whole or in part to the offender’s mental illness. (vi) If the judge decides to impose a hospital order under s.37/41, he or she must explain why a penal element is not appropriate. (vii) The regimes on release of an offender on licence from a s.45A order and for an offender subject to s.37/41 orders are different but the latter do not necessarily offer a greater protection to the public, as may have been assumed in Ahmed and/or or by the parties in the cases before us. Each case turns on its own facts. (viii) If an offender wishes to call fresh psychiatric evidence in his appeal against sentence to support a challenge to a hospital order, a finding of dangerousness or a s45A order he or she should lodge a s.23 application. If the evidence is the same as was called before the sentencing judge the court is unlikely to receive it. (ix) Grounds of appeal should identify with care each of the grounds the offender wishes to advance. If an applicant or appellant wishes to add grounds not considered by the single judge an application to vary should be made." (4) The court considered the individual appeals/application, noting that it is appellate not a review court and that the question is whether the sentence imposed was manifestly excessive or wrong in principle.

R v LV; R (LV) v SSJ (2015) EWCA Crim 45, (2015) EWCA Civ 56

Sentencing guidance; MHT/PB delay

"There are before the court: (1) Sitting as the Court of Appeal Criminal Division six cases where indeterminate sentences (either imprisonment for public protection (IPP) or a life sentence) had been passed between 1997 and 2008. Each specified a minimum term. In each case there was psychiatric evidence before the court with a view to a judge considering making a hospital order under MHA 1983 s37 as amended with a restriction under s41 of the same Act. The sentencing judge did not make such an order, but each was subsequently transferred to hospital under a transfer direction made by the Secretary of State under s47. (2) Sitting as the Court of Appeal Civil Division, a civil appeal in relation to a judicial review brought by the first of the appellants in the criminal appeals of the actions of the Secretary of State for Justice and the Parole Board relating to delay in the determination of her application for release from custody." In relation to the criminal aspect: in cases where medical evidence suggests mental disorder, the offending is partly or wholly attributable to that disorder, treatment is available and a hospital order may be appropriate, the court should consider (and, if appropriate, make) a s45A order before considering making a hospital order.

R v PS (2019) EWCA Crim 2286

Sentencing and mental health

"These three cases, otherwise unconnected, raise issues about proper approach to sentencing offenders who suffer from autism or other mental health conditions or disorders."

R v Stredwick (2020) EWCA Crim 650

Appeal against IPP

"In this appeal the appellant invites the court to quash the sentence of imprisonment for public protection imposed in 2008 and make an order pursuant to section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983 ("the 1983 Act") for his admission or continued detention at Ty Gwyn Hall Hospital, Abergavenny. The appellant also invites the court to make an accompanying Restriction Order without limit of time under section 41 of the 1983 Act. The Crown does not oppose this appeal, nor the orders sought."

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 Thompson (2018) EWCA Crim 639

Guidance on sentencing on appeal

"These four otherwise unconnected appeals have been listed together as each potentially raises an issue in relation to the effect of s11(3) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 which requires this court, on an appeal against sentence, to exercise its powers such that 'taking the case as a whole, the appellant is not more severely dealt with on appeal than he was dealt with by the court below'. Articulating the issue with reference to the specific sentences that may give rise to the issue, it is about the extent to which this court can substitute what is a standard determinate sentence with (i) a special custodial sentence for offenders of particular concern under s236A of the Criminal Justice Act 2003; (ii) an extended sentence under s226A or B of the 2003 Act; or (iii) a hospital order with restriction or hybrid order under s37 and 41 or 45A of the Mental Health Act 1983."

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."

Todd v Parsons (2019) EWHC 3366 (Ch)

Testamentary capacity

"The claim was opposed by the third defendant, challenging that will on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, want of knowledge and approval and undue influence. ... The traditional test for capacity is that laid down in Banks v Goodfellow (1870) LR 5 QB 549 ... In James v James [2018] WTLR 1313, I held that the traditional test still applied, and had not been replaced by that contained in the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Neither party argued before me that the test should now be that contained in the 2005 Act, although the third defendant reserved the right to argue otherwise on appeal. ... In my judgment the 2008 will is valid."

Whittaker v Hancock & Ors (2018) EWHC 3478 (Ch)

LPA attorney as substituted personal representative

"The claimant has brought a claim under section 50 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985 to be appointed as substitute personal representative of the estate of John Parker in place of the second defendant, her mother, and for a caveat entered by the third defendant on 20 July 2016 to be removed. ... The third defendant is the deceased's daughter and opposes the claim. ... In a statement accompanying the Will, signed by the deceased and witnessed by a legal secretary the deceased explains that he has made no provision for the third defendant ... On 20 July 2016 the third defendant caused a caveat to be entered. She subsequently entered an appearance to the claimant's warning asserting that the 2003 Will may be invalid due to the deceased lacking testamentary capacity, being subject to undue influence and want of knowledge and approval. ... Mr Devereux-Cooke submits that I should make an order appointing the claimant as substitute personal representative for the second defendant. The claimant is the attorney for the second defendant, the LPA having been registered on 16 January 2014. The second defendant cannot consent to the claim as she lacks capacity. The first defendant does not oppose the claim. ... It is a general LPA in respect of property and financial affairs that is in wide terms enabling the claimant, as attorney, to make decisions about the second defendant's property and financial affairs. There are no conditions or restrictions specified in the instrument. ... It is also relevant that the second defendant is the sole beneficiary under the 2003 will. She is in a different position to a case where there are a number of beneficiaries. ... I accept Mr Devereux-Cooke's analysis that the claimant has standing to bring this claim under section 50. If I am wrong in my analysis I consider that the position could be remedied by adding the second defendant as a claimant and appointing the current claimant as her litigation friend. I also accept Mr Devereux-Cooke's analysis of rules 31 and 35 of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987 and would have been prepared to treat the claim as including this as an alternative legal route, had it been necessary. ... I consider that in order for the deceased's estate to be administered it is necessary to substitute the claimant as personal representative in place of the second defendant."

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