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Drilldown: Cases

So far 267 cases have been added to the database, out of 2092 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 : Capacity to consent to sexual relations or Criminal law capacity cases or EPA cases - other or LGO decisions or Unlawful detention cases

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Showing below up to 25 results in range #1 to #25.

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Page name Sentence Summary
A Local Authority v JB (2020) EWCA Civ 735

Capacity and sexual relations

"The issue arising on this appeal is whether a person, in order to have capacity to decide to have sexual relations with another person, needs to understand that the other person must at all times be consenting to sexual relations."

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.

Bassetlaw CCG (19 006 727a) and Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (19 006 727b) (2019) MHLO 67 (LGSCO)

Complaint not upheld by LGSCO

LGSCO summary: "The Ombudsmen found no fault by the Council, Trust or CCG with regards to the care and support they provided to a woman with mental health problems. The Ombudsmen did find fault with a risk assessment the Trust completed. However, we are satisfied this did not have a significant impact on the care the Trust provided."

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (17 012 839a) (2019) MHLO 44 (LGSCO)

Complaint about community care delay

LGSCO's summary: "The Ombudsmen do not consider Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust delayed providing support for Mrs X’s mental health needs. We have not found fault with the way the Council decided what support she needed. The Ombudsmen consider Derbyshire County Council delayed completing Mr X’s carer assessment and should have considered carrying out an integrated assessment with Mrs X. However, it has remedied the distress Mr X suffered."

Esegbona v King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (2019) EWHC 77 (QB)

Aggravated damages following MCA breaches

"The claimant, Dr Gloria Esegbona, brings this claim as administrator of the estate of the deceased, her mother, Christiana Esegbona. The action is brought in negligence and false imprisonment. The amended claim form states that the claimant's claim is a claim in clinical negligence and/or pursuant to the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and/or the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934. The claimant claims damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity as well as damages, including aggravated damages, for false imprisonment. It is the claimant's case not only that the medical, nursing and other staff at the defendant’s hospital owed her mother a duty to treat her with reasonable care and skill but also that the defendant had duties under the Mental Capacity Act 2005: to take reasonable steps to establish whether Mrs Esegbona lacked capacity before doing any act in connection with her care or treatment; and further that if the defendant reasonably believed that Mrs Esegbona lacked capacity whether it would be in her best interests for any act in connection with her care or treatment to be done; and to take steps to obtain a court order or the relevant authorisation under schedule A1 to the Act before depriving Mrs Esegbona of her liberty. The claimant says the defendant acted in breach of these duties."

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (18 018 548a) (2019) MHLO 66 (LGSCO)

Carer's assessment failures

LGSCO summary: "The Ombudsmen have upheld Mrs G’s complaint about the way her carer’s assessments were carried out. We have not found fault with the way the Trust, Council and CCG arranged Mr H’s accommodation under s117 of the Mental Health Act or how the Trust communicated with Mrs G and Mr H about this."

London Borough of Tower Hamlets v NB (2019) EWCOP 17

Capacity to consent to sex with husband

"There is also evidence that indicates that NB very much enjoys the status of marriage, is affectionate to her husband [AU] and, on occasion, initiates sexual relations. This appears consistent with Ms Wilson's observations as long ago as 1996. The primary issue before the Court is whether NB truly has the capacity to consent to sexual relations. ... Unfortunately, the case attracted a great deal of media coverage, this notwithstanding that no argument had been heard and no Judgment delivered. A great deal of the comment was sententious and, in some instances, irresponsible. It is considered, by the Official Solicitor and the applicant Local Authority, that the impact of that publicity frightened AU very considerably, leading him to believe that he was likely to be sent to prison. He has left the party's flat and disengaged with these proceedings. ... [Mr Bagchi for the OS] submits it is a 'general' or 'issue-specific' test rather than a partner-specific one. If Mr Bagchi is correct, the difficulty that presents in this case is that there is only one individual with whom it is really contemplated that NB is likely to have a sexual relationship i.e. her husband of 27 years. It seems entirely artificial therefore to be assessing her capacity in general terms when the reality is entirely specific. ... As I said on the last occasion, these issues are integral to the couple's basic human rights. There is a crucial social, ethical and moral principle in focus. It is important that the relevant test is not framed in such a restrictive way that it serves to discriminate against those with disabilities, in particular those with low intelligence or border line capacity. ... Mr Bagchi has accepted that if a person-specific test were applied here then the outcome, in terms of assessment of NB's capacity may be different. ... I do not necessarily consider that the applicable test in the Court of Protection necessarily excludes the 'person specific approach'. I am reserving my Judgment ..."

Manchester City Council Legal Services v LC (2018) EWCOP 30

Sexual exploitation, restrictions where adults have capacity

After a circuit judge endorsed a care plan which led to the repeated sexual exploitation by strangers of a young woman with autism and significant learning disabilities (who had capacity to consent to sexual relations but lacked capacity to make decisions on her contact with men), Hayden J provided guidance that 'where issues arise that may necessitate restrictions in areas where adults have capacity, these should be heard by a High Court Judge in the Court of Protection'.

Milton Keynes CCG (17 018 823e) (2019) MHLO 61 (LGSCO)

Section 117 complaint

"Whilst the Trust was acting on behalf of the CCG in carrying out the s117 actions, the CCG is ultimately responsible for s.117 provision, along with the Council. ... The CCG, Trust and the Council should, by 23 December: (a) Write to Mrs B apologising for the impact of the fault in relation to not refunding the care fees relating to the supported living placement. (b) Confirm with Mrs B and refund the supported living fees which have not already been reimbursed. Mrs B may need to provide additional information to the organisations about fees paid as part of this. (c) Write to Miss A and Mrs B personally and apologise for the impact the lack of s.117 planning had on both of them individually due to the length of time Miss A went without adequate support. They should also apologise for the uncertainty caused by not knowing whether the incidents outlined above could have been avoided. (d) Pay Miss A £1500 and Mrs B £1000 each in recognition of the impact of the and length of time Miss A had a lack of s.117 support. By 20 February 2020, the Council, CCG and Trust should create an action plan of how they will notify and cooperate with each other to ensure patients are assessed promptly and s.117 care put in place in line with the MHA Code of Practice. This action plan should include a review of progress and the impact of any changes following implementation of the plan."

NHS Guilford and Waverley CCG (18 007 431a) (2019) MHLO 60 (LGSCO)

Section 117 complaint

"(1) Within one month of my final decision, the Council and CCG will: (a) Write to Miss X and Mr Y, acknowledging the fault identified in this decision and offering meaningful apologies; (b) Jointly pay Mr Y £500 for failure to provide support as outlined on his s117 aftercare plan, delayed care planning, loss of opportunity to re-engage him and distress as a result of poor communication around his care plan and eviction; (c) Jointly pay Miss X £150 for poor complaint handling, stress and inconvenience. (2) Within three months of my final decision, the Council and CCG will ensure that Cherrytrees and all other providers acting on their behalf under s117 review their policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the relevant parts of the Code of Practice: Mental Health Act Code 1983, the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 and the Care Act 2014, in relation to: (a) Care planning; (b) Daily record keeping; (c) Complaint handling, including ensuring all points are responded to adequately and complainants are properly signposted should they wish to escalate their complaint."

Parker v Chief Constable of Essex Police (2017) EWHC 2140 (QB)

Damages following unlawful arrest (Barrymore)

"The Defendant founds its submission that the Claimant is entitled to nominal damages only on the decision of the Supreme Court in Lumba (WL) v SSHD [2011] UKSC 12. Lumba has been considered and applied by the Supreme Court in R (Kambadzi) v SSHD [2011] UKSC 23B and by the Court of Appeal in Bostridge v Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust [2015] EWCA Civ 79, [2015] MHLO 12. The Defendant relies upon Kambadzi and Bostridge as well as Lumba. ... Applying the basic principles of compensatory damages in tort, the counterfactual (i.e. what would have happened if the tort had not been committed) in Lumba was that the Secretary of State would have detained the claimants lawfully pursuant to the published policy. ... In Bostridge the finding of the trial judge was that the appellant would have been detained as and when he was if his illness had been correctly addressed via section 3 of the Mental Health Act, as it should have been; and that he would then have received precisely the same treatment and been discharged when he was. The Court of Appeal held that the fact that this counterfactual necessarily included steps being taken by persons other than the Defendant did not prevent the application of the principles set out in Lumba. The appellant therefore recovered only nominal damages. It is not enough for a Defendant in the position of the Secretary of State in Lumba or the Defendant in the present case to show that the counterfactual could have resulted in the same outcome as had been caused by the tort: the Defendant must go on to show that it would have done so. ... It follows that I reject the Defendant's submission that the principles set out in Lumba are applicable if the unlawfully arrested Claimant was "arrestable", meaning that he could have been lawfully arrested: it is necessary for the Defendant also to show that he would have been lawfully arrested. The principles set out in Lumba lead to an award of nominal damages if no loss has been suffered because the results of the counterfactual are the same as the events that happened. If and to the extent that they diverge (e.g. because a lawful arrest would not have occurred at the time but would have occurred later) the Court will have to decide on normal tortious compensatory principles whether and to what extent a substantial award of damages is merited for the divergence in outcome. What is the appropriate counterfactual in a given case will be acutely fact-sensitive."

Parker v Chief Constable of Essex Police (2018) EWCA Civ 2788

Nominal damages (Barrymore)

"In the early hours of 31 March 2001, Michael Parker (a celebrity entertainer who is better known by his stage name, Michael Barrymore) returned to his home with eight guests. ... In relation to Mr Parker, that arrest was to be effected by Det. Con. Susan Jenkins who had played a central role in the re-investigation and was well aware of the evidence: she believed she had reasonable grounds both to suspect Mr Parker of committing an offence and to conclude that it was necessary to effect his arrest. In the event, she was detained in traffic and a surveillance officer (P.C. Cootes) was ordered to effect the arrest, which he did. ... For these reasons, I would conclude that Stuart-Smith J was correct to conclude that there were reasonable grounds both to suspect Mr Parker of committing an offence and that it was necessary to arrest him. Equally, however, I have no doubt that had things been done as they should have been done (to quote Baroness Hale in Kambadzi), a lawful arrest would have been effected. Thus, I would allow this appeal and, in answer to the issue posed by the Master, declare that Mr Parker is entitled to nominal damages only."

PB v Priory Group Ltd (2018) MHLO 74

Damages for unlawful psychiatric detention

A Part 36 offer of £11,500 plus legal costs was accepted in this claim brought for unlawful detention and breach of Article 5. The patient had been detained under s5(2) when not an in-patient, and this section had lapsed for nearly seven hours before detention under s2 began.

R (Jollah) v SSHD (2018) EWCA Civ 1260

False imprisonment and damages

"The context is one of immigration detention. The claimant, who is the respondent to this appeal (and who for present purposes I will call "IJ"), was made subject to a curfew restriction between the hours of 23.00 and 07.00 for a period between 3 February 2014 and 14 July 2016, pending potential deportation. Such curfew was imposed by those acting on behalf of the appellant Secretary of State purportedly pursuant to the provisions of paragraph 2 (5) of Schedule 3 to the Immigration Act 1971 (as it then stood). It has, however, been accepted in these proceedings that, in the light of subsequent Court of Appeal authority, there was no power to impose a curfew under those provisions. Consequently, the curfew was unlawfully imposed. The question arising is whether IJ is entitled to damages for false imprisonment in respect of the time during which he was subject to the unlawful curfew. The trial judge, Lewis J, decided that he was. Having so decided, the judge at a subsequent hearing assessed the damages at £4,000: [2017] EWHC 330 (Admin)B; [2017] EWHC 2821 (Admin)B. The Secretary of State now appeals, with leave granted by the judge, against the decision that IJ was entitled to damages for false imprisonment. IJ cross-appeals, with leave granted by Singh LJ, against the amount of the award of damages. It is said on behalf of IJ that a much greater award should have been made."

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.

R v Kurtz (2018) EWCA Crim 2743

"The Registrar of Criminal Appeals has referred this application for permission to appeal against conviction and sentence to the Full Court. The application concerns the scope of the offence created by s 44(2) read, in this case, with s 44(1)(b) of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 ('MCA 2005) of which the Appellant was convicted. This provision has not previously been considered by the Court of Appeal. ... The essential question at the heart of this appeal is whether, on a prosecution for the offence contrary to s 44(2) read with s 44(1)(b), the prosecution must prove that the person said to have been wilfully neglected or ill-treated lacked capacity, or that the defendant reasonably believed that s/he lacked capacity. We shall refer to this as 'the lack of capacity requirement'. ... The submission by Ms Wade QC on behalf of the Appellant was that the existence of the EPA was not sufficient of itself to render the Appellant guilty of the offence contrary to s 44(1)(b) of the MCA 2005 even if she had wilfully neglected her mother. ... Despite our comments in [19] above as to the evidence which suggests that, at a minimum, the Appellant should reasonably have believed her mother to lack mental capacity in matters of personal welfare, the judge's failure to direct the jury in this regard is fatal to the safety of the conviction and the appeal must be allowed."

Re A (Capacity: Social Media and Internet Use: Best Interests) (2019) EWCOP 2

Social media and internet use

"I have reached the clear view that the issue of whether someone has capacity to engage in social media for the purposes of online ‘contact’ is distinct (and should be treated as such) from general consideration of other forms of direct or indirect contact. ... It is my judgment, having considered the submissions and proposals of the parties in this case and in Re B , that the ‘relevant information’ which P needs to be able to understand, retain, and use and weigh, is as follows: (i) Information and images (including videos) which you share on the internet or through social media could be shared more widely, including with people you don’t know , without you knowing or being able to stop it; (ii) It is possible to limit the sharing of personal information or images (and videos) by using ‘privacy and location settings’ on some internet and social media sites; [see paragraph below]; (iii) If you place material or images (including videos) on social media sites which are rude or offensive, or share those images, other people might be upset or offended; [see paragraph below]; (iv) Some people you meet or communicate with (‘talk to’) online, who you don’t otherwise know, may not be who they say they are (‘they may disguise, or lie about, themselves’); someone who calls themselves a ‘friend’ on social media may not be friendly; (v) Some people you meet or communicate with (‘talk to’) on the internet or through social media, who you don’t otherwise know, may pose a risk to you; they may lie to you, or exploit or take advantage of you sexually, financially, emotionally and/or physically; they may want to cause you harm; (vi) If you look at or share extremely rude or offensive images, messages or videos online you may get into trouble with the police, because you may have committed a crime; [see paragraph below]. With regard to the test above, I would like to add the following points to assist in its interpretation and application: ..."

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 M: AB v HT (2018) EWCOP 2

Declaration of non-marriage in English law

"These complex and difficult proceedings in the Court of Protection concern a 37-year-old woman, hereafter referred to as M, who (as I have found, for reasons set out below) at present lacks capacity by virtue of a combination of psychotic illness and acquired brain injury. The parties to the proceedings are the applicant, M's father, hereafter referred to as AB; her aunt, hereafter referred to as HT; the local authority for the area where HT, and currently M, live, namely the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham; and a man hereafter referred to as MS, with whom M went through a religious ceremony of marriage in 2013. A dispute has arisen concerning a number of issues about her past, present and future which has necessitated a lengthy and unusual fact-finding hearing. This judgment sets out my conclusions on the disputed matters of fact, together with an analysis as to her capacity, and orders made following my findings."

Re P (Sexual Relations and Contraception): A Local Authority v P (2018) EWCOP 10

Sex and covert contraception

"This judgment in long-running proceedings involving a vulnerable young woman, hereafter referred to as 'P', addresses difficult issues concerning her sexual relationships and the covert insertion of a contraceptive device. ... I shall address these issues in the following order: (1) Capacity - general principles. (2) P's capacity other than sexual relations. (3) P's capacity to consent to sexual relations. (4) Best interests: general principles. (5) Best interests: contraception. (6) Best interests: covert treatment (6) Best interests: sexual relationships and supervision. (7) Further issues arising from the draft order." ... Given the serious infringement of rights involved in the covert insertion of a contraceptive device, it is in my judgement highly probable that, in most, if not all, cases, professionals faced with a decision whether to take that step will conclude that it is appropriate to apply to the court to facilitate a comprehensive analysis of best interests, with P having the benefit of legal representation and independent expert advice.

Re SF (2020) EWCOP 15

Sexual relations and contact with husband

(1) SF lacked capacity in relation to some areas (litigation, care, residence, finances, tenancy, contact with strangers and people who are unfamiliar) but did have capacity to consent to sexual relations and to decide on contact with her husband. The psychiatric evidence was that SF would only have episodic memory ("memory for the personally experienced events of a person’s life, with retention of the details of time and situation in which they were acquired") in relation to contact with strangers, but would have semantic memory ("knowledge which is retained irrespective of the circumstances in which it was acquired [deriving] from the 'feeling' around the memory rather than the 'facts' surrounding the memory") in relation to her husband. (2) The court authorised the deprivation of liberty which existed both when living at her home and (on an interim basis until authorised by the placement) when receiving respite care at a residential supported care provision.

Rotherham Doncaster & South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (18 010 101a) (2019) MHLO 43 (LGSCO)

Failure to carry out carer's assessment

LGSCO's summary of decision: "The Trust and Council were at fault in not carrying out a carer’s assessment and not involving Mrs S during her husband’s period of treatment. There was also fault in record-keeping and delays in responding to the complaint. These failings caused an injustice to Mrs S as she lost the opportunity for additional support and is likely to have suffered additional distress. The Trust and Council have already taken action to address these failings and improve processes. The Trust and Council have agreed to pay Mrs S financial redress and the Trust has agreed to monitor and report on improvements in its complaints handling."

Staffordshire County Council (18 004 809) (2019) MHLO 41 (LGSCO)

Failure to carry out DOLS assessments

LGSCO decision: "The Council has acted with fault in deciding not to assess low and medium priority Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards applications. The Council is also taking too long to deal with urgent applications. This is causing a potential injustice to the thousands of people in its area who are being deprived of their liberty without the proper checks that the restrictions they are subject to are in their best interests." The final sentence of the conclusion states: "[I]t is not acceptable that the only way low and medium priority applications are resolved is because the people involved move away or die."

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (19 012 290a) (2020) MHLO 21 (LGSCO)

Section status and aftercare

"Summary: The Ombudsmen find there was fault by a Trust in giving a family incorrect information about a mental health patient’s status. When this came to light it caused the patient’s wife considerable stress which has not yet been fully addressed. The Ombudsmen also find that fault by a Council meant the patient’s wife suffered this stress for too long. The Ombudsmen has recommended small financial payments to act as an acknowledgement of the outstanding injustice."

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