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Drilldown: Cases

Not many cases (251 of them) have been added to the database so far. To see the full list of cases (2078) go to the Mental health case law page.

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Cases > Subject : Criminal law capacity cases or Medical treatment cases or Statutory will cases & Judges : Baker or Hale

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Page name Sentence Summary
DCC v NLH (2019) EWCOP 9

Retrospective authorisation of DNA swab sample

"I concluded it would be appropriate to make a declaration (1) that NLH lacked capacity (a) to make decisions as to the provision of buccal swab samples, the testing of such samples and the profiling of his DNA and (b) to conduct these proceedings, and further (2) that it was lawful for the local authority to arrange for the taking of buccal swabs from NLH for the purposes of performing DNA paternity testing in respect of the child. I further concluded it would be appropriate to make an order, by consent, that the court consented on NLH's behalf for the swab sample to be taken and tested and so that his DNA could be profiled to establish whether he was the father of the child. Shortly before the order was made, however, it emerged that a member of staff from the DNA testing company, Lextox, had already attended at the nursing home and taken the sample, with the agreement of NLH's family, but without either the formal consent of NLH (who lack capacity to provide consent) or the approval of the court. ... I therefore agreed to prepare this short judgment to remind practitioners, carers and those involved in taking samples in these circumstances that, where the patient lacks capacity and an application has been made to the Court of Protection for an order authorising the taking of a sample, it will be unlawful for the sample to be taken without the Court's permission. All practitioners and professionals working in this field ought to be aware that there is always a judge of the Family Division on duty available to sit in the Court of Protection twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year, to deal with urgent applications, usually by telephone. Consequently, there is no excuse for any failure to comply with the obligations to obtain the court's permission in circumstances such as these. As stated, no harm arose on this occasion, but any infringement in future will run the risk not only of attracting severe criticism from the Court but also potentially incurring liability for damages if a breach of human rights were to be established."

NHS Trust v Y (2018) UKSC 46

Court order not always necessary for withdrawal of CANH

"The question that arises in this appeal is whether a court order must always be obtained before clinically assisted nutrition and hydration, which is keeping alive a person with a prolonged disorder of consciousness, can be withdrawn, or whether, in some circumstances, this can occur without court involvement. ... In conclusion, having looked at the issue in its wider context as well as from a narrower legal perspective, I do not consider that it has been established that the common law or the ECHR, in combination or separately, give rise to the mandatory requirement, for which the Official Solicitor contends, to involve the court to decide upon the best interests of every patient with a prolonged disorder of consciousness before CANH can be withdrawn. If the provisions of the MCA 2005 are followed and the relevant guidance observed, and if there is agreement upon what is in the best interests of the patient, the patient may be treated in accordance with that agreement without application to the court. I would therefore dismiss the appeal. In so doing, however, I would emphasise that, although application to court is not necessary in every case, there will undoubtedly be cases in which an application will be required (or desirable) because of the particular circumstances that appertain, and there should be no reticence about involving the court in such cases."

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.

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