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Cases > Subject : Criminal law capacity cases or EPA cases - other or LPA cases - other or MHT capacity cases or Upper Tribunal decisions

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Page name Sentence Summary
AD'A v Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (2020) UKUT 110 (AAC)

Change in status - s3 to guardianship

When the patient had been transferred from s3 detention to s7 guardianship, the tribunal had been wrong to strike out her case for want of jurisdiction. The tribunal's jurisdiction arose from the s3 application, and none of the subsequent changes (including a new right to apply to tribunal, different tribunal powers, and different parties) affected that jurisdiction.

CM v Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (2011) UKUT 129 (AAC)

Nature and degree

(1) The Tribunal's decision not to discharge was made in error of law, and was set aside, (a) because there was no real evidence to support its view that non-compliance with medication and the risk of consequent relapse in the near future would probably occur, (b) because it did not establish that in these circumstances it had complied with the 'least restriction principle', (c) because of the irrationality in paragraph 21 of its decision (in that as the risk was of what might eventually happen it was hard to see how the envisaged leave regime could test that risk), and (d) because continued detention for the purposes of avoiding a chaotic lifestyle or drug taking or the absence of drug counselling is not permitted by law on the facts of this case. (2) The judgment contains a discussion of the 'nature' and 'degree' tests.

DA v Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (2019) UKUT 348 (AAC)

Proceeding in absence of solicitor and patient

The tribunal refused to adjourn the case of a CTO patient who had not attended the hearing, then the solicitor left the hearing because she felt unable to represent the patient in those circumstances. (1) The tribunal's initial decision to proceed in the patient's absence referred to rule 39(1) (whether the party had been notified of the hearing or reasonable steps had been taken to notify the party of the hearing, and whether it was in the interests of justice to proceed with the hearing) and rule 39(2)(a) (whether the patient had decided not to attend the hearing or was unable to attend the hearing for reasons of ill health) but not rule 39(2)(b) (whether a rule 34 medical examination of the patient been carried out or was impractical or unnecessary). However, given the assumption that, as an expert tribunal, it will have got the law right, it was more likely than not that the tribunal decided it was impractical to carry out an examination. (2) The tribunal had not considered making an appointment under rule 11(7), but this was unnecessary as there was no indication that the patient had withdrawn her instructions or lacked capacity. (3) When the solicitor departed, it was incumbent upon the tribunal to make a fresh assessment under rule 39(1) as to whether it was in the interests of justice to proceed with the hearing. Its reasons did not mention the departure and it was unlikely that the tribunal had carried out such an assessment; even if it had done so, the lack of any explanation would have rendered the reasons inadequate. (4) The matter was remitted to the First-tier Tribunal for a re-hearing by a differently-constituted panel.

Djaba v West London Mental Health NHS Trust (2017) EWCA Civ 436

ECHR and tribunal criteria

"[T]he appeal is concerned with the narrow issue whether the statutory tests within ss. 72, 73 and 145 of the Mental Health Act 1983 require a 'proportionality assessment' to be conducted, pursuant to articles 5 and/or 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Human Rights Act 1998, taking into account the conditions of the appellant's detention. ... The position established by these cases is that, where the question whether the detention complies with the European Convention on Human Rights is not expressly within the powers of the tribunals but can be heard in other proceedings, section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998 does not require the powers of the tribunals to be interpreted by reference to the Convention to give them the powers to consider Convention-compliance as well. The same principle applies here too. In this case, the appellant must apply for judicial review to the Administrative Court if he considers that the conditions of his detention are disproportionate and do not comply with the Convention. That Court is able to carry out a sufficient review on the merits to meet the requirements of the Convention."

Djaba v West London Mental Health NHS Trust (2018) MHLO 76 (SC)

ECHR and tribunal criteria

On 15/3/18 the Supreme Court (Lady Hale, Lord Hodge, Lord Lloyd-Jones) refused Jasmin Djaba permission to appeal, giving brief reasons.

DL-H v West London MH NHS Trust (2017) UKUT 387 (AAC)

Religious beliefs and tribunal expertise

Judicial summary from Gov.uk website: (1) "In deciding whether a patient is manifesting religious beliefs or mental disorder, a tribunal is entitled to take account of evidence from both religious and medical experts." (2) "A tribunal is entitled to use its own expertise to make a different diagnosis from those of the medical witnesses, provided it allows the parties a chance to make submissions and explains its decision."

JD v West London Mental Health NHS Trust (2016) UKUT 496 (AAC)

ECHR and tribunal criteria

"The patient in this case is held in conditions of exclusion and restraint that are exceptional and perhaps unique. He occupies a ‘super seclusion suite’ consisting of a room with a partition that can divide it into two. No one is allowed to enter without the partition in place, except nursing staff wearing personal protective equipment in order to administer his depot injections. He is only allowed out of the suite in physical restraints that restrict his circulation and under escort by a number of members of staff. ... The Secretary of State referred the patient’s case to the First-tier Tribunal on 28 July 2015. The hearing took place on 19 and 20 November 2015; the tribunal’s reasons are dated 23 November 2015. ... What the tribunal did not do was to deal expressly with the human rights argument put by Ms Bretherton on the patient’s behalf. On 7 January 2016, the tribunal gave permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal identifying as the issue: 'to what extent should the circumstances of the patient’s detention, and any possible breach of the European Convention as a result thereof, have any bearing on the First-tier Tribunal’s exercise of considering sections 72 and 73? Following from that, if the Tribunal is satisfied that the circumstances of a patient’s detention are a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, how should that be reflected in the decisions that the First-tier Tribunal can lawfully make?'"

JMcG v Devon Partnership NHS Trust (2017) UKUT 348 (AAC), (2017) MHLO 28

Deferred discharge beyond current authority for detention

"The principal issue in this appeal is whether the First-tier Tribunal (Mental Health) erred in law in its belief that, pursuant to s.72(3) of the Mental Health Act 1983, it could not defer the discharge of a detained patient beyond the date of the order authorising detention. The Appellant patient criticised the tribunal for (a) refusing to defer his discharge until a date after the authority for his detention had expired and (b) failing to give adequate reasons for its decision overall. I have concluded that the tribunal did not err in law with respect to the effect of section 72(3) since its reasons did not assert that a deferred discharge could not exceed the date of the order authorising detention. Though strictly obiter, I have concluded that a deferred discharge cannot exceed the date of the order authorising detention and explain why I have reached that view below. I also concluded that the tribunal’s reasoning in this case was adequate."

JS v SLAM NHS Foundation Trust (2019) UKUT 172 (AAC)

Reinstatement

(1) Reinstatement: "As there is no right to reinstatement, the tribunal has a discretion whether or not to reinstate the party’s ‘case’. It must, like all discretions, be exercised judicially and that involves complying with the overriding objective of the tribunal’s rules of procedure, which is ‘to enable the Tribunal to deal with cases fairly and justly’ (rule 2(1)). ... Considered methodically, the factors that the tribunal should take into account neatly divide into three. First, the tribunal should consider whether there is anything to undermine either the patient’s application to withdraw or the tribunal’s consent. Just to give some examples, the application may have been based on a misunderstanding of the facts or the law. Or there may be an issue whether the patient had capacity or gave informed consent. Or the tribunal’s reasons for consenting may have been defective. Second, there may have been a change of circumstances that makes it appropriate to agree to reinstatement. Third, the tribunal will have to consider any other factors that may be relevant under the overriding objective. These will include: (a) the reasons given in support of the application, whatever they may be; (b) any prejudice to the patient in refusing consent; (c) any detriment to the other parties if consent is given; (d) any prejudice to other patients if consent is given; and (d) any impact that reinstatement might have on the operation of the tribunal’s mental health jurisdiction system as a whole." (2) Respondent status: "[T]he Trust was properly named as a respondent on the appeal to the Upper Tribunal ... The Trust was the responsible authority and, as such, a party to the proceedings in the First-tier Tribunal ... On appeal by the patient to the Upper Tribunal, everyone else who was a party before the First-tier Tribunal became a respondent ... That is standard procedure in appeal generally. The Trust’s letter shows a confusion between an appeal and a judicial review. In the latter, the tribunal is the respondent, and others may be interested parties."

LW v Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (2018) UKUT 408 (AAC)

Meaning of "nature" in discharge criteria

(1) Having considered the statutory framework of CTOs and the legislative purposes behind them the UT concluded, primarily on that basis, that in cases where there is a risk of a relapse which might necessitate recall, how soon that such a relapse is likely to occur is a relevant consideration. However, other factors, including the risk to the patient and/or others if a relapse were to occur, may also be relevant, and there is no requirement for likely relapse to be "soon", "in the near future" or within the permitted duration of a CTO. (2) Addressing the claimants' arguments on the analogy between detention and CTO cases, the judge stated that while there are some parallels between the s3 regime and CTOs they are not such that the same principles necessarily apply to both, and (to the extent necessary to reach a view on the detention cases) neither of the previous judgments cited in CM v Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust [2011] UKUT 129 (AAC) provided an authoritative basis for the view that imminence of relapse is the only factor or need be in the near future.

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.

M v An NHS Trust (2017) MHLO 39 (UT)

Tribunal reasons

"[T]he tribunal's decision was made in error of law, but not [set aside]. In my grant of permission, I identified two possible errors of law. ... One of those errors was that the tribunal's reasons might be inadequate for being 'long on history and evidence but short on discussion.' ... There is, in truth, only one thing that really has to be said about the quality of reasons, which is that they must be adequate. Everything else is merely application of that principle to the circumstances of a particular case. ... [T]he second possible error [is] that the 'tribunal's reasoning shows that it was confused about its role and the [relevance] of a community treatment order'. ... [T]he reasons at least leave open the possibility that the tribunal may have strayed outside its proper remit. ... The first three sentences read: 'A cardinal issue of this application is whether the patient should be discharged from hospital by a CTO. This issue involves knowledge of the nature of a CTO. A CTO may only be imposed by the patient's RC ...' It may be that the judge did not express himself clearly, but that passage appears to begin by suggesting, and to continue by denying, that the tribunal had power to make Mr M subject to an order or was being asked to approve that course. The judge did then make a distinction between discharge from hospital and discharge from the liability to be detained. So it is possible that his reference to 'discharge from hospital by a CTO' may have been intended, not as a direction about the tribunal's powers on the application, but as a statement of how the responsible clinician envisaged Mr M's eventual progress. This interpretation would be consistent with what the tribunal said later ... In view of Mr M's current status [he had been discharged], I do not have to decide whether those reasons do or do not show that the tribunal misdirected itself. I limit myself to saying that it is risky if reasons can be read in a way that indicates a misdirection. ... Given that Mr M is no longer liable to be detained, I can see no need to venture outside the appropriate role of the Upper Tribunal in mental health cases and state, even in the form of a narrative declaration, that the tribunal should have exercised its power to discharge him. That is why I have exercised my power to refuse to set aside the tribunal's decision regardless of any error of law that it may have made."

PAA v SSHD (2019) UKUT 13 (IAC)

Oral tribunal decision

The UT's summary of this judgment is as follows: "(1) In accordance with rule 29(1) the First-tier Tribunal may give a decision orally at a hearing. (2) If it does so, that is the decision on the appeal, and the effect of Patel v SSHD [2015] EWCA Civ 1175B is that there is no power to revise or revoke the decision later. The requirement to give written reasons does not mean that reasons are required in order to perfect the decision. (3) If the written decision, when issued, is inconsistent with the oral decision, both decisions, being decisions of the Tribunal, stand until set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction; but neither party is entitled to enforce either decision until the matter has been sorted out on appeal. (4) In such a case, as in any other, time for appealing against the decision given at the hearing runs, under rule 33 (2) and (3), from the date of provision of the written reasons, however inappropriate the reasons may appear to be, subject to any successful application for extension of time." Rule 41(1) of the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber) Rules 2008 is the same as rule 29(1) of the immigration and asylum rules cited above.

PM v Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (2020) UKUT 69 (AAC)

Lawfulness and availability of treatment

The tribunal had been wrong to find that appropriate medical treatment was "available" for a CTO patient for whom the lack of a SOAD certificate meant that two days after the hearing her treatment could not lawfully be given (unless she were to be recalled to hospital and the administration of her depot were to become immediately necessary). This was the case even though the treatment could have been given on the hearing date: the tribunal should look at the whole course of treatment, not merely a snapshot.

Public Guardian v DA (2018) EWCOP 26

LPA wording - euthanasia and multiple attorneys

"This judgment concerns two test cases brought by the Public Guardian, by applications made under s.23 and Schedule 1 paragraph 11 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, regarding the validity of words in lasting powers of attorney ('LPAs'). The first concerns words relating to euthanasia or assisted suicide, whereas the second concerns words as to the appointment of multiple attorneys. Although the substance of the issues to which the words are directed is very different in the two cases, there is considerable overlap in the legal argument, the active parties were the same in the two sets of proceedings (the Public Guardian and the Official Solicitor) represented by the same counsel, and it is convenient to consider both cases in one judgment."

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 BGO: Office of the Public Guardian v PGO (2019) EWCOP 13

LPA witnessed by attorney

"Some time later one of the financial institutions to which the registered property and affairs LPA was sent noticed that BGO’s signature on the instrument had been witnessed by one of the attorneys (MAB), which is contrary to the requirements of Regulations. ... The Public Guardian applied to the Court for a determination as to whether or not the requirements for creation of an LPA were met, and directions as to whether the Public Guardian should cancel the registration of the instrument. ... The wording of paragraph 18 of Schedule 1 is mandatory. Because the requirements of execution have not been met, I must direct the Public Guardian to cancel the registration of BGO’s LPAs. ... For many donors, the failure of their LPA because of a defect in execution can be overcome by the relatively simple step of granting fresh powers, taking care to ensure that the requirements are met – an irritation perhaps and an expense but not an insurmountable hurdle. However, that option is not open to BGO. Sadly, before this defect was identified, BGO’s capacity had deteriorated to the point where she is unable to execute fresh LPAs. ... In the absence of attorneys to manage her property and affairs, the Court may appoint a deputy or deputies. ... In respect of health and welfare, the Court may also appoint a deputy or deputies if considered appropriate, although it does so much more rarely. However, pursuant to section 20(5) of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, a deputy cannot be given powers to refuse consent to the carrying out or continuation of life-sustaining treatment. In her welfare instrument, BGO had ticked the box to confirm that she wanted to give her attorneys this power. On the failure of her LPA, there is no means for the Court to give effect to her wishes in this respect. ... The Respondents are invited to make an application for appointment as property and affairs deputies for BGO. ... If the Respondents, or any of them, seek the appointment of a welfare deputy or deputies for BGO, they should also file at Court within 28 days a COP24 statement which sets out any welfare issues which require decisions to be made, why (having regard to s5 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005) an order is needed and why (having regard to section 16(4) of the Act) the decisions should be taken by a deputy rather than the Court."

RM v St Andrew's Healthcare (2010) UKUT 119 (AAC)

Non-disclosure of covert medication

(1) When considering the "interests of justice" limb of rule 14(2), the key test to be applied is whether or not non-disclosure of the document or information would allow the patient to make an effective challenge to his detention. (2) On the facts, without knowing that he was being covertly medicated the patient would be unable effectively to challenge his detention; the non-disclosure decision was set aside and re-made. (3) Non-disclosure orders should not only be drafted in terms of documents, but also should deal, in a precise, clear and exhaustive way, with the information which should not be disclosed.

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.

SLL v Priory Healthcare Limited (2019) UKUT 323 (AAC)

Inadequate reasons for not absolutely discharging

The patient challenged the tribunal's decision to grant a conditional, rather than absolute, discharge. (1) Ground 1: Failure properly to apply the two-stage process required by s73(1) and (2). The MHRT had decided (under s73(1)) that the s72(1)(b)(i) (appropriateness) test was not met, and had moved straight to s73(2) (absolute or conditional discharge) without considering s72(1)(b)(ii) (necessity) or s72(1)(b)(iia) (appropriate treatment). The UT decided that the statute permitted the tribunal to stop once it had decided that it was not satisfied of the first s72 test. However, s73(2) required the tribunal to make findings on substantially similar matters, albeit on a forward-looking basis, and to make a decision on the type of discharge on the basis of those findings. Without express findings (in particular in relation to potential medical treatment for any psychotic condition the patient may suffer from) and an explanation of how the relevant factors were weighed (including the two factors discussed below) it was not possible to be sure how the tribunal reached its decision. The UT gave guidance in paras 33-35 on the findings likely to be required when considering s73(2), and in para 47 on the appropriateness of treatment with no realistic prospect of therapeutic benefit. (2) Ground 2: Failure to give adequate reasons. The Appellant had presented credible expert evidence that risk could be managed by future Part 2 detention rather than the recall power, so it was incumbent on the Tribunal to explain why it was not persuaded by that evidence: instead, it had merely quoted another doctor's evidence (which stated that recall would be available but did not grapple with the Part 2 issue) and said that this evidence was "more apt". The Appellant had also argued that the setting of a psychiatric hospital was positively harmful, and the tribunal had failed to explain its rejection of this argument. Taken as a whole it was not adequately clear why the tribunal was not satisfied that it was inappropriate for the Appellant to continue to be liable to recall to hospital for further treatment.

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 on when the hospital managers, IMHA, or the tribunal itself should request the making of a reference.

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.

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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