Set out below are a number of cases that we or our current staff have been involved in. Please click on the case itself for a brief description and link to the case report.
Cases involving Actions Against Police & Public Bodies
- R (on the application of Rutherford) -v- Independent Police Complaints Commission  EWHC 2881
Here, we challenged a decision of the IPCC linked to the lawfulness of plain clothed police officers stopping two young boys in a car.
- Lee -v- Chief Constable of Essex  EWHC 283 (Admin)
In this case, a challenge was brought to require the defendants to quash a caution administered otherwise in accordance with the Home Office guidance.
Cases involving Court of Protection
- NCC v PB and TB  EWCOP 14
The Court of Protection found that a 79-year-old woman who had suffered from psychiatric illness for a long time lacked capacity, under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 s.2 and s.3, to make decisions about her residence, care and her contact with her husband, and that it was lawful and proportionate to place her in a care home and to control her contact with her husband, who suffered from schizophrenia.
- Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust v RC  EWCOP 1317
The administration of a blood transfusion to a Jehovah's Witness who suffered from personality disorders which caused him to self-harm amounted to treatment to "prevent the worsening of the disorder or one or more of its symptoms or manifestations" within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983 s.63. A doctor could therefore lawfully administer the transfusion non-consensually, but it would be an abuse of power to do so where a patient had capacity to refuse; the duty to save life was subservient to the right to sovereignty over one's own body.
- HS (A Local Authority v HS  EWHC 2410 (COP)  MHLO 58
Vulnerable young lady with Down’s Syndrome, living first in residential care and then in a supported living placement. The local authority investigated an allegation from care staff that her brother had abused her and found the allegations to be substantiated. Some time later, the case came before the Court of Protection as there was a dispute as to HS’s capacity, and her best interests particularly in relation to her contact with family and her residence. The Court awarded HS’s brother and the Official Solicitor, who was acting as litigation friend on behalf of HS as she lacked capacity to instruct a solicitor herself, all of their legal costs. In coming to this decision, the Court commented on the unsatisfactory evidence initially relied on by the local authority such as reliance on non-contemporaneous notes, and inconsistency in the records. The Court also took a view of the fact that HS’s brother, or father, had even been informed of the allegations and had had no opportunity to respond to the same. Findings were made against the brother without him even being aware there had been an investigation. This case serves as useful guidance therefore on how safeguarding matters should, or should not, be handled by local authorities, and a reminder of the consequences of not getting it right.
- In re NRA and others  EWCOP 59
An incapacitated person who was the subject of an application under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 s.16(2)(a) for a welfare order based on a care package whose implementation gave rise to a deprivation of liberty did not automatically have to be joined as a party to the application. That was particularly so where the proceedings were non-contentious and there was a family member or friend who could act in a balanced way to promote the person's best interests and perform the independent checks and reviews required by Cheshire West and Chester Council v P  UKSC 19.
Cases involving Family
- Haringey v M  EWCC B66 (Fam) (16 April 2014)
18 year old mother and 23 year old father, having continuous drug problems and unwilling to work with the professionals. The court has placed their first child, A, in the care of the local authority with permission for adoption. Held that the second child, B, should be adopted together with the first child as the parents would not be able to care safely for B, would not be able to offer care that was calm, stable and consistent and would not be able to meet his long-term needs.
- Re T (Children) (contact: application to replace indirect contact with supervised contact)  All ER (D) 87 (Apr)
The Court allowed the applicant father's appeal against a ruling reducing contact with his children to indirect contact and dismissing his application to change the name of his youngest child. The judge had misdirected himself in reaching the conclusion he had reached in respect of contact and the supervised contact order would be restored. The name change application would be remitted to the County Court.
- Francis v Brent Housing Partnership Ltd & Ors  EWCA Civ 912 (29 July 2013)
A judge had erred when determining that a local authority housing tenant did not have a secure tenancy of a flat following a possession order issued against the tenant, as a subsequent agreement between the parties showed an unequivocal intention on both sides to create, or to recognise, a secure tenancy.
Cases involving Mental Health
- R(on the application of S) -v- Mental Health Review Tribunal  EWHC (Admin) 2522
This challenge was against the requirement (in the Tribunal Rules) that a service user, detained under the Mental Health Act 1983, had to be assessed by the medical member of the Tribunal when applying to them for a review of their detention.
- R (on the application of C) v Secretary of State for Justice  UKSC 2
The patient had been transferred to a psychiatric hospital from prison, where he had been serving a life sentence. The First-tier Tribunal notified the secretary of state that he was suitable for conditional discharge. The secretary of state referred the matter to the parole board and refused to consent to the patient having unescorted leave in the community. The patient sought judicial review of his refusal and, when granting permission, the High Court made an interim anonymity order. When the claim was ultimately rejected, the judge declined to continue the anonymity order. Held that there was no presumption of anonymity in civil proceedings in the High Court relating to patients detained in psychiatric hospitals or otherwise subject to compulsory powers under the Mental Health Act 1983. In each case the question was whether anonymity was necessary in the interests of the patient. A balance had to be struck between the public's right to know what was going on in court and who was involved, and the risk of the patient's rehabilitation being jeopardised by his identification.
- YA v Central and North West London NHS Trust (2015) UKUT 37 (AAC), (2015) MHLO 18
In proceedings in which a person detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.2 had declined representation when she appeared before the First-tier Tribunal, the Upper Tribunal gave guidance on the appointment and duties of a legal representative appointed by the First-tier Tribunal under the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber) Rules 2008 r.11(7).
- AM v Partnerships in Care Ltd  UKUT 659 (AAC),  MHLO 106
The role of factual findings in relation to risk assessment; whether a Tribunal had made a factual error in reaching conclusions of fact; the adequacy of reasons relating to findings of fact - AM v Partnerships in Care Ltd and Secretary of State for Justice –  MHLR 214
Points Arising: Acts taken into account in a risk assessment must be proved on a balance of probabilities.
Facts and Outcome: In upholding detention rather than granting a conditional discharge, a Tribunal found that AM had been responsible for 2 of 3 rapes alleged against him (which had not led to charges or convictions) and so presented a risk of sexual violence that required assessment and treatment. This was quashed and remitted by the Upper Tribunal on the basis of errors of fact as to the forensic evidence in support of the allegations and the lack of reasoning.
- EC v Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust  EWCA Civ 701  MHLO 47 (CA)
- AC v Partnerships in Care Ltd  UKUT 450 (AAC),  MHLO 163
AC appealed against the tribunal's rejection of his application for a notification under s74 that, if subject to a s37/41 hospital order rather than a s47/49 prison transfer direction, he would be entitled to a conditional discharge. The Upper Tribunal gave guidance as to the scope of the First-tier Tribunal's jurisdiction when considering an application for discharge under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.74(1) made by a prisoner who had been transferred to a psychiatric hospital during his sentence.
- EC v Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust  UKUT 178 (AAC),  MHLO 70
X and Y had been made subject to a hospital order under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.37 and a restriction order under s.41. X applied to the tribunal for an extra-statutory recommendation for leave outside the hospital, and Y for a move to less restrictive conditions. While a First-tier Tribunal was free to make an extra-statutory recommendation in relation to restricted patients, it had no legal power to make one and could never be compelled to do so.
- R (LH) v MHRT (2002) EWHC 1522 (Admin)
There is no need for reasons for not making a recommendation where, as here, there is no contention (or any evidence in support of a contention) justifying a recommendation or the consideration of it. In any event, an extra-statutory recommendation, outside the scope of s72(3), has no legal effect and is not susceptible to judicial review. That s72 does not allow consideration of a hospital's suitability in terms of security or family proximity does not disclose a Convention incompatibility: a lacuna in an Act or a failure to provide an effective remedy for a Convention violation does not mean that the Act is incompatible.