P v Cheshire West and Chester Council and P and Q v Surrey County Council


P v Cheshire West and Chester Council and P and Q v Surrey County Council

The Supreme Court cases of P v Cheshire West and Chester Council and P and Q v Surrey County Council handed down on 19th March have immense significance for members of this Association and for the highly vulnerable clients that they represent.

The Association welcomes the return to a clear principle of the “universality of human rights” as outlined by Lady Justice Hale in this case. The implications of the Court’s decision for the legal definition of the deprivation of liberty are far reaching and will affect all those who are subject to “continuous control and supervision”; and who are also “unable to leave” where ever they are placed generally where the state is involved.

The result of these judgements will require a review of the Deprivation of Liberty provisions; and potentially extend these provisions to a range of people living in the community; and even some living in supported or adult foster placements. It will grant many such people the right to an independent legal review for the very first time, in accordance with compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights. This in turn is certain to have a beneficial effect on care and treatment for some of the most defenceless in our society, as well assist in ensuring that they are placed in the least restrictive appropriate setting.

The Association recognises however serious shortcomings with respect to the existing deprivation of liberty review provisions and notes that the Supreme Court’s judgements come sharply on the heels of the House of Lords Select Committee conclusions on the Mental Capacity Act and the need for radical amendments as to the operation of that Act; especially with regards to the deprivation of liberty provisions.

Members of this Association are frequently at the frontline in delivery of rights arising for such susceptible clients. The Association will be promoting a series of education and training events to assist in appreciating the practical implications of the Supreme Court’s decision. Details of these will be found on this website and will be open to non-members and other professionals.

If you have any questions as to the Association’s views on this case please contact our administrator Peter Lyle at admin@mhla.co.uk.

Further information can be found on Alex Ruck Keene’s website here.

Richard Charlton
Mental Health Lawyers Association