MHLA Committee Meeting – 9 April 2019
1. Welcome and introductions: Alice Dickinson, Emma Kent, Nick Lewis, Andrew Markham, David McLaughlin, Morag McNiven, Jenny Oxton, Deepti Parmar, Pramod Sanatun, Kate Tyrrell, Jonathan Wilson.
2. Apologies: Sue Antell, Manhas Aziz, Sarah Burke, Elizabeth Cleaver, Neil Cronin, Tam Gill, Umar Kankiya, Jennifer Nwachukwu, Karen Wolton.
3. Minutes of meeting held on 19 February 2019: Proposed as accurate record by PS and seconded by DP.
4. Officer’s Reports:
a. Chair (Kate Tyrrell)
i. Meeting LAA / HMCTS: Meeting happened that morning (9 April), to discuss 11(7)(a) appointments – specifically when client does not engage. The meeting was attended by Kate Tyrrell, Nick Lewis, Jake Kraft, Ellie Cronin, Carolyn Taylor, Deputy Chamber President Sarah Johnston, and Judge Debbie Postgate. JK struggled to understand why a client would appoint a solicitor, and then not engage. Proposal put forward that there should be a minimum of Level 1 Tribunal fee for solicitors making enquiries as to whether or not the client is going to engage with the process. This would cover initial contact with the client, and possibly looking at social circumstances reports. JK will look at current guidance and wants to consider Law Society’s practice note on acting for clients who lack capacity, as well as amending the Tribunal form to note whether the client has asked for a solicitor. DM proposed that R.11(7)(a) and R.11(7)(b) matters should be treated the same way. Action: JK will send minutes of meeting for further communication with LAA. KT will continue to push for remuneration.
ii. SRA Updates
1. New Standards & Regulations: Nothing to report from the meeting, as Skype wasn’t working. KT will circulate powerpoint slides on the new standards and regulations, which are due to come into force in November. KT was going to propose a face to face meeting and provide update after 30 April.
2. Guidance on acting for clients who lack capacity: The SRA have requested comments/feedback on their draft guidance note. PS said it “ticks the right boxes” and will invite COP Subcommittee to discuss it from their perspective. Action: KT requested Committee send responses, and for them to be collated by COP and Drafting Subcommittees.
iii. Member Enquiries
1. Hospital Lists: Following discussion at previous committee meeting, letters have been sent to Surrey & Partners and North East London. Surrey & Borders responded on 27 February, saying they were unsure where to find solicitors in the correct procurement area due to the Law Society displaying older procurement areas. KT responded on 3 March, saying South and South East should cover these areas. There has been no response from North East London. The committee wanted to take this further, KT proposed producing a central list or resending the letter to NE London. EK suggested sending the letter to their manager. Committee voted to send the letter to NE London again. No action for centralised list at this time.
2. Attendance at s117 / CPA Meetings: Regarding email from Tammy Groves, who has been having problems attending meetings at Dorset Healthcare NHS Trust. KT asked if anyone else has had issues similar to TG. DM and JW said they had with different trusts, but the cases had been resolved. Action: KT will respond saying that the majority of the committee had not had this issue, and that we suggest this is escalated to the Clinical Director and referred to Paragraph 33.11 of the Code of Practice, and come back to us if they have further problems.
iv. MHLA Landline: KT wanted to ask if the landline being removed had caused any issues for admin. AD said everything was fine.
v. Broadmoor Pilot: Referred to circulated correspondence from DCP Sarah Johnston. KT will be attending meeting on 30 April, and mentioned that some members may not have received an invitation due to room constraints. MA and MM will also be attending. They will provide feedback after the meeting.
b. Vice Chair (David McLaughlin)
i. MHCS Meeting, 11th March 2019: DM and KT went to meeting with Ministry of Justice on 11 March. Leave Application for Restricted Patients forms discussed at meeting, included in papers. Talked about improving practices and processes after moving from Central London to Croydon, prison transfers being dealt with more effectively, and purpose of redrafting the Leave Application form which was to get more information to avoid going back to the RC. They also asked DM and KT why some firms could be requesting excessive information, which can cause delays. Guidance was produced for victims and who should be providing updates to them, and concern for impact statements. Transgendered inmates were also discussed, and the lack of a transgender unit in this country, as well as risk and risk assessments. The Ministry of Justice expressed interest in regular future meetings, with one being scheduled for July.
ii. HMCTS Event: Tribunal Reform – 26th February 2019: BC attended. Mental health was not discussed in great detail, however there was mention of the mental health reform as part of the government’s review of The Mental Health Act. DM suggests keeping an eye on this, even though it doesn’t affect us now, it could do further down the line.
c. President (Nick Lewis)
i. SPG / CCCG Meeting Feedback 28.02.2019 & 13.03.2019: CCMS and it’s “inability to function” was discussed. Issue of matter starts.
ii. Next Meetings: Meeting tomorrow (10 April). SPG 1 May, CCCG 15 May. Agenda not been received but they arrive very shortly before. Agendas will be circulated to committee, any points raised on behalf of MHLA can be raised by NL and SA.
iii. LAPG Awards: NL also raised the Mental Health category for the LAPG Awards, closing date 30 April. This will be circulated to members.
d. Secretary (Pramod Sanatun)
i. Payment Clawback: Update on member query regarding payment clawback from the last meeting – member has now conceded their £30,000 clawback (across around 37 files) after unsuccessful appeal. They are not pursuing it further with us. Committee were concerned that this could go on to affect other people, but also respect they don’t know enough about the individual and situation. Action: KT suggested we ask permission to speak to LAA re their case, make a freedom of information request for how many types of cases they’ve had like this. LAA Sub will follow up if they get permission.
ii: BBC Radio 4: No updates.
e. Treasurer (Sue Antell)
SA was not in attendance. Budget was circulated. No questions asked.
5. Sub-committee Reports
(KT asked reports to be sent in time to be sent out with papers, 14 days before meeting.)
a. LAA: AS has resigned from committee, EK will be new chair.
b. COP: 19 firms have responded to COP Questionnaire, 16 already do COP and have accredited panel members or are working towards it. There is a demand for specialist training on Case Law, Advocacy, and Welfare. These could potentially be taught by EC, or one of 4 firms who offered to help with training depending on cost; needs to be in line with MHLA pricing. In contrast, not a lot of demand for COP Conference as other competition is better and we have a dedicated slot for Capacity at the conference. Committee voted to have more specialist courses.
c. E&T: TG not in attendance. JW had nothing to add. TG suggested asking if there were any course suggestions on course feedback forms.
d. Drafting / Consultation: Nothing to report.
e. Conference: Date and venue confirmed: Macdonald Hotel, Birmingham, 22 November. NL discussed his ideas for speakers to approach as soon as possible: LAA representatives, Sarah Johnston, psychiatrist (or any medical professional) to discuss changes in medication, Caroline Bradley, Michael Kennedy/Sophy Miles joint case law presentation, Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division, or Professor Sir Simon Wessely, Chair of the Independent MHA Review. Also possibility of Natalya O’Prey, NOMS. PS has been in communication with ‘Bethany’s Dad’ (father of autistic girl in St Andrews), who has provisionally accepted to speak. Committee discussed various options, and possibly shortening the timeslots if we want more speakers. NL also suggested possibly having longer in the morning for people to chat, and/or having a workshop in the afternoon to allow members to talk to each other – however, the committee know they wouldn’t be able to have longer breaks and more speakers, only one or the other. Action: NL will communicate with potential speakers, formal invitation will come from KT in writing.
6. Dates of next meetings
Tuesday 4 June
Wednesday 31 July
Tuesday 10 September
Wednesday 30 October
Annual conference & AGM Friday 22 November
7. Any other business
JW raised the issue of single Judges now deciding cases in CTO paper matters and what action, if any, the MHLA should take. KT asked for a request that this is added to the Agenda for the next meeting as there was not time to discuss it in full.