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Drilldown: Cases

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Cases > Subject : Criminal law capacity cases or Deputyship cases or MHT capacity cases & Court: Upper Tribunal

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Page name Sentence Summary
AR v West London NHS Trust (2010) MHLO 49 (UT)

Public hearing and capacity

(1) The four factors set out in AH which must be considered in any application for a public hearing under Tribunal rule 38 are merely factors relevant to the ultimate test of whether a public hearing is in the interests of justice. The first factor ("whether it is consistent with the subjective and informed wishes of the patient (assuming that he is competent to make an informed choice") does not mean that a patient must have capacity in order to be allowed a public hearing, although the wisdom of the patient's wishes is relevant to the application of rule 38. (2) The relevant "matter" for the purposes of assessing capacity is not merely the public hearing application but conduct of the proceedings generally, although lack of capacity in relation to the former entails lack of capacity in relation to the latter. (3) The First-tier Tribunal had restricted its capacity assessment to the decision to apply for a public hearing, and had concluded that "[w]ithout being able to make an informed choice [the patient] cannot have a public hearing", so had erred in relation to both both points.

M v Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (2018) UKUT 120 (AAC)

Covert medication and MHT

The tribunal had failed to turn its mind to the extent to which (despite his lack of capacity to conduct proceedings) the patient was capable of participating in proceedings before addressing the test for non-disclosure. The appeal was allowed and the matter remitted to the tribunal to re-make its decision.

SB v South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (2020) UKUT 33 (AAC)

Reviewing appointment of legal representative

The tribunal appointed a representative under Tribunal rule 11(7)(b) and later refused to put on record another representative who stated that he was acting on instructions. (1) The initial appointment was unlawful because Form 6b was deficient: the rubric did not mention the 14-day time limit for challenging a delegated decision under Tribunal rule 4. If it had done then the patient's attempt to have a new representative put on record might not have been made too late to be resolved before the hearing. (2) By basing its refusal to review the appointment purely on the appointed solicitor's objection, the tribunal had abdicated its decision-making responsibility and had not given sufficient weight to the presumption of capacity in the face of new evidence of instruction. (3) The decision of the tribunal panel in not discharging the patient was not flawed in any material respect. (4) Neither of the unlawful decisions were set aside as the patient had since been discharged. (5) No damages were awarded as the Upper Tribunal has no power to do so.

SM v Livewell Southwest CIC (2020) UKUT 191 (AAC)

Capacity to make tribunal application

(1) This majority decision confirmed that the test for capacity to make a tribunal application stated in the VS case was correct (that the patient must understand that she is being detained against her wishes and that the First-tier Tribunal is a body that will be able to decide whether she should be released). (2) In a dissenting judgment Sarah Johnston DCP stated that the test should be: "Does the patient want to be free to leave?" (3) The Upper Tribunal decided (again by a majority) that tribunal panel had not erred in striking out the patient's case, and gave detailed procedural guidance, including: (a) if a patient regains capacity then the tribunal should consider inviting the patient to make a fresh application and, having abridged any procedural obligations, proceed to hear the case; (b) anyone can request that the Secretary of State make a reference, including when a patient lacks capacity and wishes to leave hospital: this includes not only the hospital managers and IMHA, but also the tribunal itself, which could adjourn for this purpose instead of immediately striking out the case.

VS v St Andrew's Healthcare (2018) UKUT 250 (AAC)

Capacity to make tribunal application

(1) The capacity that a patient must have in order to make a valid MHT application is that the patient must understand that he is being detained against his wishes and that the First-tier Tribunal is a body that will be able to decide whether he should be released. This is a lower threshold than the capacity to conduct proceedings. (2) (Obiter) a solicitor appointed under rule 11(7)(b) can request to withdraw an application in the best interests of the patient, but on the facts the tribunal had been entitled to give effect to the patient's own desire to come before a tribunal. (3) When a tribunal lacks jurisdiction it should strike out the proceedings but (obiter) if the proceedings were fair then the use of withdrawal rather than strike out is unlikely to be a material error of law.

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