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Drilldown: Cases

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 : Capacity to consent to sexual relations or Criminal law capacity cases or Hospital managers hearings or Miscellaneous

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Parties:
A (2) · A Family Member (1) · A Local Authority (3) · AB (2) · ABC (3) · AU (1) · B (2) · Blavo and Co Solictors Ltd (1) · C (4) · Care Quality Commission (1) · CB (1) · Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (1) · Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police (2) · Chief Constable of the Suffolk Police (1) · CM (1) · CNK Alliance Ltd (1) · Conway (1) · Costica Lazarel (1) · Derby City Council (1) · Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (1) · Desmond Maurice Fitzgerald (1) · Dr Caroline Jane Ardron (1) · East London and City Mental Health NHS Trust (1) · F (1) · Gary Huzzey (1) · Hannah Griffiths (1) · Highland Health Board (1) · Hillgreen Care Ltd (1) · HT (1) · Humanists UK (1) · Huntercombe Maidenhead Hospital (1) · Jessica Griffiths (1) · John Blavo (3) · KR (1) · Law Society (1) · LC (1) · London Borough of Hackney (1) · London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (1) · London Borough of Tower Hamlets (1) · Lord Chancellor (2) · M (2) · Manchester CIty Council Legal Services (1) · McCann (3) · Michael Gilchrist (1) · MS (1) · MSP Capital (1) · NB (1) · Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (1) · Not Yet Dead (UK) (1) · Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council (1) · P (1) · Paul Sherratt (1) · Priory Healthcare Limited (1) · Riverside Mental Health Trust (1) · Robin Makin (1) · Rory MacDonald (1) · Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospital NHS Trust (1) · RR (1) · Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2) · Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council (1) · Silviu Mitocariu (1) · Simon Burton (1) · Sophie Griffiths (1) · South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust (3) · SR (1) · St George's Healthcare NHS Trust (3) · State Hospitals Board for Scotland (2) · Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (4) · Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council (1) · The NHS Trust (1)

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Page name Sentence Summary
ABC v St George's Healthcare NHS Trust (2015) EWHC 1394 (QB)

Disclosure of patient's medical information

The claimant's father had killed his wife, was detained under s37/41, and refused to allow the Trust to inform his pregnant daughter of his Huntingdon's disease diagnosis. She claimed that the failure to inform her: (a) was negligent and breached Article 8; and (b) had caused psychiatric damage, and (if her daughter also has the disease) additional expense which she would have avoided by an abortion. Her claim was struck out.

ABC v St George's Healthcare NHS Trust (2017) EWCA Civ 336

Disclosure of patient's medical information

"The Claimant alleges that the particular circumstances of her case mean that the Defendants owed her a duty of care. She says it was critical that she should be informed of her father's diagnosis, firstly presumed and subsequently confirmed, in the light of her pregnancy. This was her first and only child. It was all along known that she would be a single mother with sole responsibility for the upbringing of the child. If informed of her father's diagnosis she would have sought to be tested for Huntington's Disease. If her own diagnosis was confirmed, she would have terminated the pregnancy rather than run the risk that her child might in due course be dependent on a seriously ill single parent or become an orphan, and the risk that in due course her child might inherit the disease. Her diagnosis would have precluded any subsequent pregnancy. The claim therefore includes a 'wrongful birth' claim in respect of the child. The child has an accepted risk of 50 per cent of contracting the disease, but it is not yet possible to reach a diagnosis in her case, one way or another."

ABC v St George's Healthcare NHS Trust (2020) EWHC 455 (QB)

Disclosure of patient's medical information

"By this claim brought against three NHS trusts, the claimant contends that the defendants breached a duty of care owed to her and/or acted contrary to her rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights in failing to alert her to the risk that she had inherited the gene for Huntington's disease in time for her to terminate her pregnancy."

Ardron v Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (2018) EWHC 3157 (QB)

"The Claimant, Dr. Caroline Ardron, is a very experienced consultant psychiatrist employed by the Defendant [Trust]. The Trust considers it appropriate for Dr. Ardron to face disciplinary proceedings for alleged gross misconduct relating to her work at HMP Lewes in late 2015 and early 2016. At that time, Dr. Ardron was the responsible clinician of a young prisoner known as JO, who committed suicide by hanging himself on 12 February 2016. The proposed disciplinary proceedings relate, almost exclusively, to Dr. Ardron's care of JO including her record-keeping in that respect. Dr. Ardron does not suggest that disciplinary proceedings are inappropriate as a matter of principle, or that there is no case of misconduct that could be brought against her. However, she contends that there is no basis for a charge of gross misconduct; a charge which, if established, could potentially lead to the termination of her contract and serious ramifications for her including her prospects of obtaining subsequent employment. On 18 June 2018, an interlocutory injunction was granted by Mr. Pushpinder Saini QC, sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court, which restrained the Trust from proceeding until further order with a disciplinary hearing into gross misconduct. The question for resolution now is whether that injunction should be made permanent. That issue depends upon whether Dr. Ardron can prove that the Trust will breach her contract of employment by holding the proposed disciplinary hearing on a charge of gross misconduct. The Trust's intention to proceed to such a hearing was communicated in its letter to Dr. Ardron dated 20 March 2018, and the issue is therefore whether the Trust should be prevented from operating on the basis of that letter. The resolution of that issue depends principally upon the question of whether the facts found in an investigation into Dr. Ardron's conduct could, taken at their highest, amount to gross misconduct."

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.

CB v SSWP (2020) UKUT 15 (AAC)

All-male and all-female panels

(1) It was unlawful of the tribunal to hear the ESA appeal in the applicant's absence; the decision was set aside and the case remitted to a new panel. (2) The judgment contains obiter comments about the request for an all-female panel.

CQC v Hillgreen Care Ltd (2018) MHLO 50

Prosecution of care home provider

(1) The care home provider charged with failing between 1/4/15 and 1/12/15 to comply with the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 by failing to provide care and treatment in a safe way for service users (reg 12) and failing to put in place, and operate effectively, systems and processes to protect service users from abuse, including sexual abuse (reg 13). The provider had known since 2004 that its resident XX posed risk a of causing sexual abuse. Following an allegation of anal rape of a woman in 2008 his care plan stated that he "identifies with both male and female around his sexual orientation" and that he "needs to be supported at all times and not to be left alone unsupervised when around other service users and when in the community". XX admitted to having sex with two other residents, neither of whom had capacity to consent: a female resident AA in April 2015 and a male resident YY on 1/11/18. The provider had not followed the care plan and the district judge concluded that "[t]he incident with YY could not have happened had there been an extra member of staff on duty to watch XX and where he went." It was found guilty of both charges and was fined £300,000. (2) The judgement states that the CQC's inspection of the care home and seizure of documents took place on 27/7/17: this is the same day as a critical article in the Times (Andrew Norfolk, 'CQC covered up suspected rape in care home' (Times, 27/7/17)). Information about the chronology can be found in the CQC's subsequent report (CQC, 'CQC publishes independent investigation into its regulation of 14 Colne Road' (press release, 13/6/18)).

Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v Derby City Council (2019) EWHC 3436 (Ch)

Charitable status of foundation trusts

Seventeen NHS foundation trusts argued that, as foundation trusts, they were entitled under s43(5) Local Government Finance Act 1988 to the four-fifths reduction in non-domestic rates because they were charities and the relevant properties were wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes. The High Court answered the preliminary question "Whether the Lead Claimant is a charity for the purposes of section 43(6) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988?" in the negative.

Gilchrist v Greater Manchester Police (2019) EWHC 1233 (QB)

Police use of force

"I recognise that this was a challenging situation for the police officers. They were faced with an individual who presented as very angry, covered in blood and with whom they were unable to communicate. Prior to Andrew Gilchrist's explanation, their assumption that Michael Gilchrist was an aggressor who, probably, had assaulted someone and needed to be detained, was reasonable. In those circumstances, their initial actions to attempt to bring him under control using CS gas and Taser were justified, reasonable and proportionate. However, once they were appraised of his vulnerability as an autistic man, and his behaviour suggested that he was defensive rather than aggressive, a more cautious approach should have been adopted. The further use of Taser, which had already proved to be ineffective, and following the use of CS gas, was inappropriate. The alternative course mandated by PS Morris, namely, using the force of the officers available to take Mr Gilchrist to the ground and restrain him without using weapons was a reasonable and proportionate response."

Griffiths v Chief Constable of Suffolk Police, and Norfolk and Suffolk NHSFT (2018) EWHC 2538 (QB)

Claim following decision not to admit under MHA

"This case arises out of the murder of Mary Griffiths by John McFarlane on 6 May 2009 in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. The Claimants are her three daughters, suing by their father and litigation friend. They seek damages from the Chief Constable of the Suffolk Police, the 'Suffolk Police', and North and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, the 'NHS Trust', the first and second Defendants. ... The claim, put very shortly, is that the NHS Trust assessment under the Mental Health Act, MHA, was flawed in a number of respects, and that Mr McFarlane ought to have been admitted to hospital, voluntarily or compulsorily, on 3 May 2009, which would have prevented him being in a position to murder Ms Griffiths on 6 May. In any event, the NHS Trust should have warned her that Mr McFarlane was a danger to her, and they ought also to have communicated with the Suffolk Police. This would have affected the way in which they, in turn, addressed Ms Griffiths' concerns when she telephoned them on 5 May 2009. The Suffolk Police, in any event, ought to have graded Ms Griffiths' call as more serious than they did, and ought to have sent someone round that night. That person would have realised that the situation was more threatening than had the call-taker, and steps would have been taken to protect Ms Griffiths, who faced a real and immediate risk from Mr McFarlane, to remove her from danger, or to warn or detain Mr McFarlane."

John Blavo v Law Society (2018) EWCA Civ 2250

Intervention costs statutory demands

The Law Society successfully appealed against a decision to set aside two statutory demands (of £151,816.27 and £643,489.20) which had been served on John Blavo in relation to costs incurred in respect of the intervention into his practice.

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 ..."

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...")

MacDonald v Burton (2020) EWHC 906 (QB)

Audio recording of neuropsychological testing

(1) The defendant was allowed to carry its neuropsychological examination of the claimant without being subjected to any kind of recording of that examination: a level playing field could not be achieved where the claimant had not recorded the examination and testing by his own expert but where the examination testing by the defendant's expert was so recorded. (2) The judge discussed the question of any privilege which may exist in any recordings that are made. (3) The judge hoped that the forthcoming British Psychological Association guidance would recognise the competing interests and would not merely state that psychological examinations and testing should never be recorded.

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'.

McCann v State Hospitals Board for Scotland (2014) CSIH 71

Scottish smoking ban

The smoking ban at Carstairs Hospital, which at first instance had been declared to be unlawful, was decided on appeal to be lawful.

McCann v State Hospitals Board for Scotland (2017) UKSC 31

Scottish smoking ban

"This is a challenge by application for judicial review to the legality of the comprehensive ban on smoking at the State Hospital at Carstairs which the State Hospitals Board for Scotland adopted by a decision taken at a meeting on 25 August 2011 and implemented on 5 December 2011. The appellant, Mr McCann, does not challenge the ban on smoking indoors. His challenge relates only to the ban on smoking in the grounds of the State Hospital and on home visits, which, by creating a comprehensive ban, prevents detained patients from smoking anywhere. ... Mr McCann raises three principal issues in his challenge. First, he argues that the impugned decision is invalid at common law on the ground of ultra vires because, when so deciding, it did not adhere to the principles laid down in section 1 of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 (which I set out in para 22 below) or comply with the requirements of subordinate legislation made under the 2003 Act. Secondly, he submits that the impugned decision was unlawful because it unjustifiably interfered with his private life and thereby infringed his right to respect for his private life under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Thirdly, founding on article 14 of ECHR in combination with article 8, he argues that the Board, by implementing the comprehensive smoking ban, has treated him in a discriminatory manner which cannot be objectively justified when compared with (i) people detained in prison, (ii) patients in other hospitals (whether detained or not) or (iii) members of the public who remain at liberty. ... [T]he prohibition on having tobacco products and the related powers to search and confiscate are in my view illegal and fall to be annulled. ... [B]ut for the illegality under our domestic law of the prohibition of possession of tobacco products, the searches and the confiscation of tobacco products which are part of the impugned decision, I would have held that the decision was not contrary to Mr McCann’s article 8 right to respect for his private life. ... The article 14 challenge ... fails."

Oldham MBC v Makin (2017) EWHC 2543 (Ch)

Disposal of Ian Brady's body

"This claim concerns the question of whether certain orders should be made in respect of the disposal of the body of Ian Stewart-Brady, formerly Ian Brady, one of the infamous Moors murderers."

Priory Healthcare Limited v Highland Health Board (2019) CSOH 17

Contractual dispute between Health Board and independent hospital company

A patient from Scotland travelled to England and was detained at a Priory hospital, and for a few months the Highland Health Board paid the £540-per-day fee. When the Health Board decided to stop paying, the Priory unsuccessfully argued that the that the Health Board was contractually obliged to meet the continuing cost of the patient's care.

R (Conway) v SSJ (2018) EWCA Civ 1431

Assisted suicide

"This is an appeal from the order dated 5 October 2017 of the Divisional Court (Sales LJ, Whipple and Garnham JJ) dismissing the claim of the appellant, Mr Noel Conway, for a declaration under section 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998 in respect of section 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961, which imposes a blanket ban on assisted suicide. Mr Conway contends that section 2(1) constitutes a disproportionate interference with his right to respect for his private life under Article 8(1) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms."

R (Mitocariu) v Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (2018) EWHC 126 (Admin)

Hospital pocket money

Two hospital order patients contended that if for any reason they were not in receipt of benefits then the trust should provide regular payments to ensure their dignity was maintained whilst in care. (1) The trust did have a power, arising from s43 NHS Act 2006 (which identified the functions of foundation trusts), and either s46 or s47 (which provided sufficiently general powers), to make payments to patients. Any contract with NHS England purporting to restrict the statutory power would be ultra vires. Similarly, any payment outside the s43 purposes (namely, the provision of services to individuals for or in connection with the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of illness and the promotion and protection of public health) would be ultra vires. (2) The amount, timing and frequency of payments was a matter for the discretion of the Defendant, taking into account all relevant factors, including the specific therapeutic requirements of the patient. (3) A standardised approach of making regular payments irrespective of and unrelated to the therapeutic needs of the patient, as sought by the Claimants, would be outside the powers granted to a foundation trust. (4) On the facts, the Defendant had lawfully exercised its power: the financial circumstances of the patients were regularly considered and addressed appropriately (e.g. paying for a winter coat and travel costs). (5) The absence of a policy did not mean that the Defendant had acted unlawfully.

R (SR) v Huntercombe Maidenhead Hospital (2005) EWHC 2361 (Admin)

Hospital managers and dangerousness

Usually the managers should discharge if they disagree with the RMO's barring report, but there can be exceptions; they have an unfettered discretion.

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 Riverside Mental Health Trust, ex p Huzzey (1998) EWHC Admin 465

Dangerousness criterion and hospital managers

Managers must consider dangerousness criterion when reviewing detention after RMO's barring order, and in almost all circumstances discharge if not satisfied of that criterion.

Re A (A Patient, now deceased) (No 4) (2018) EWCOP 17

Miscellaneous

"On 24 July 2018, Mr Fitzgerald issued an application in the Family Division of the High Court of Justice, under number FD13P90056, seeking an order that, as President of the Family Division, I 'withdraw from public record Judgement EWCOP16 [2018] on the grounds that: (1) It is not given in any recognised court or jurisdiction; (2) It misrepresents the evidence presented in Application; (3) It displays transparent bias and injudicious prejudice.' ... Mr Fitzgerald's latest application is totally without merit. It is a time-wasting abuse of the process, which I accordingly strike out. If Mr Fitzgerald continues to display such forensic incontinence, he may find himself again subject to an extended civil restraint order."

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 AB (2020) EWHC 691 (Fam)

Access to records of deceased patient

The Access to Health Records Act 1990 states that "[a]n application for access to a health record, or to any part of a health record, may be made to the holder of the record by ... where the patient has died, the patient's personal representative and any person who may have a claim arising out of the patient's death" but limits this as follows: "access shall not be given ... to any part of the record which, in the opinion of the holder of the record, would disclose information which is not relevant to any claim which may arise out of the patient's death." The two categories are disjunctive and the reference to "a claim arising out of the patient's death" is expressly tied to the second, and not to a personal representative.

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 CM (Judicial Review) (2013) CSOH 143

Scottish smoking ban

"The petitioner asks the court to declare that the respondents' 'policy of a complete smoking ban and prohibition of possession of tobacco products by patients at the State Hospital' is unlawful; and also to declare that the respondents' policy has breached the petitioner's human rights, specifically article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to respect for private life and home) as a stand-alone claim and in combination with article 14 ECHR (enjoyment of Convention rights without discrimination) and the first protocol, article 1 ECHR (right not to be deprived of property) as a stand-alone claim and in combination with article 14 ECHR (enjoyment of Convention rights without discrimination). ... I have come to the view, though with reluctance, that the decision to compel the petitioner to stop smoking was flawed in every possible way. In that it relied on compulsion, the decision was contrary to the national policy which it purported to implement. The decision should have been made with reference to the section 1 principles of the 2003 Act but was not, and was in contravention of the obligations imposed by section 1 on the respondents. The respondents did not, for example, take account of the petitioner's wishes, or provide him with the requisite information; and on no reasonable view could they have reached the conclusion that the smoking ban, to the extent that it was necessary, was implemented in 'the manner that involves the minimum restriction on the freedom of' the petitioner. Whether or not consultation is a legal requirement, if it is embarked on it must be carried out properly. I am satisfied that the compulsory 'comprehensive smoke-free' regime was a foregone conclusion and that the consultation exercise was not a meaningful one... If article 8 ECHR is engaged, and I hold that it is, it is for the respondents to justify interfering with the petitioner's right to make his own decision about smoking. They have failed to do so satisfactorily. Indeed, I am satisfied that the decision to stop the petitioner smoking in the hospital grounds constituted interference with the petitioner's article 8 ECHR rights without lawful warrant - because it was not made in accordance with section 1 principles - and because it went further than was necessary to achieve the legitimate aim in question, namely to protect third parties from the petitioner's cigarette smoke. The respondents have also failed to demonstrate an 'objective and reasonable justification' for treating the petitioner differently from adult, long-term prisoners, who can smoke if they wish. Going further, on the material presented to me and in the absence of any other suggestion, it appears that the only justification for imposing a smoking ban on mental health detainees like the petitioner and not on penal detainees is that it is feasible to compel mental health detainees to stop smoking because of their vulnerability. This is not a legitimate justification. Accordingly I hold that there has been a violation of the petitioner's right not to be discriminated against in the enjoyment of his article 8 ECHR rights contrary to article 14 ECHR."

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.

RR v SSWP (2019) UKSC 52

ECHR and subordinate legislation

(1) There is nothing unconstitutional about a public authority, court or tribunal disapplying a provision of subordinate legislation which would otherwise result in their acting incompatibly with a Convention right, where this is necessary in order to comply with the Human Rights Act 1998. (2) On the facts of this case, the public authority should disobey Regulation B13 of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 and retrospectively apply the Supreme Court's decision in R (Carmichael) v SSWP [2016] UKSC 58B that the "bedroom tax" was an unjustified discrimination on the ground of disability where there was a transparent medical need for an additional bedroom.

Sherratt v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police (2018) EWHC 1746 (QB)

Negligence claim about 999 call

"The claim arises out of the death of the Deceased who was found dead at her home on the morning of the 30th of January 2012. For present purposes it is accepted that the Deceased took her own life. There are two pleaded causes of action: common law negligence and alleged breaches of convention rights under the Human Rights Act 1998. The Recorder, as I am, was concerned only with the negligence claim and then only with the issue as to the existence of a duty of care owed to the Deceased. Issues as to breach of any such duty or issues as to causation were not before the Recorder. The pleaded particulars of negligence amount to allegations that the defendant, either by his officers, employees or agents, failed expeditiously and/or adequately to deal with, and/or respond to, the information conveyed to them concerning the Deceased in a 999 call made by the Deceased's mother."

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