October 2013 mental health law update

Updates from Mental Health Law Online


  • ECHR case. MH v UK 11577/06 (2013) ECHR 1008, (2013) MHLO 94 — “…in relation to [her s2 detention], the applicant did not … have the benefit of effective access to a mechanism enabling her to ‘take proceedings’ of the kind guaranteed to her by Article 5(4) … The special safeguards required under Article 5(4) for incompetent mental patients in a position such as hers were lacking in relation to the means available to her to challenge the lawfulness of her [detention] …” [A summary of this important decision will follow.]
  • Medical case. Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v David James (2013) UKSC 67, (2013) MHLO 95 — “This is the first case under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to come before this Court. That Act provides for decisions to be made on behalf of people who are unable to make decisions for themselves. Everyone who makes a decision under the Act must do so in the best interests of the person concerned. The decision in this case could not be more important: the hospital where a gravely ill man was being treated asked for a declaration that it would be in his best interests to withhold certain life-sustaining treatments from him. When can it be in the best interests of a living patient to withhold from him treatment which will keep him alive? On the other hand, when can it be in his best interests to inflict severely invasive treatment upon him which will bring him next to no positive benefit?” [Summary required.]
  • Sex case. A Local Authority v TZ (2013) EWHC 2322 (COP), (2013) MHLO 91 — “The principal issue to be determined in this judgment in proceedings brought in the Court of Protection is whether a 24-year-old man, whom I shall hereafter refer to as TZ, has the capacity to consent to sexual relations.” [Summary required.]

Law Society

  • Law Society, ‘Hazards with the use of Court-approved Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and Legal aid’ (4/10/13). See Law Society
  • Law Society, ‘House of Lords Select Committee: Mental Capacity Act 2005: [Response to] Call for Evidence’ (September 2013). See Law Society


  • Vicky Ling, ‘Mental Health, Public Law, Actions Against the Police etc., Clinical Negligence, Community Care Contracts – What’s happening?’ (Legal Aid Handbook Blog, 21/10/13). See Legal Aid
  • Andy McNicoll, ‘CQC to appoint senior mental health inspector to “root out poor services”‘ (Community Care, 11/10/13). See CQC#Other


  • Event. Fenners Chambers in Cambridge will be running their second Annual Mental Capacity Symposium, ‘Vulnerable Adults in the Justice System’, over 5 evenings from Monday 11/11/13 to Friday 15/11/13. Seminars will cover the following practice areas: Mental Health and Capacity, Employment, Crime, Public Law, Family, Elderly Client, and Property. The Keynote Address on 15/11/13 will be given by Dr Jan Wise, Chair of the BMA’s Medico-Legal Committee, on Capacity Assessments and Best Interests Decision-Making. Price: £30 including VAT per seminar before 25/10/13; £36 including VAT after 25/10/13. CPD approval has been applied for: 1.5 hours for for the seminars; 1 hour for the Keynote Address. See Fenners Chambers website for further details. See Events


  • Email discussion list. The discussion list is now back online. For details of the list, see Discussion
  • CPD. LSC category supervisors must ‘undertake a minimum of 6 hours of Continuing Professional Development per year in the Mental Health Category of Law of which no fewer than 3 hours must be on the Mental Capacity Act 2005’. The CPD questionnaires currently online are sufficient for this purpose. All questions are mental-health-related, but the following are MCA-related: Sep 2012 (0.5 hours), Oct (0.5), Nov (0.5), Dec (0.25), Jan 2013 (0.5), Feb-Mar (0.5), Mar (0.5), Apr (0.75), May (0.5), Jun-Jul (0.75), Jul (0.25), Aug (0.5). See CPD scheme