Shameless self-promotion (but with others too)

Hi all – just a heads up that the Web Journal of Current Legal Issues has just published a special edition on disability- It has a number of articles relevant to mental health and mental capacity, including an article by Piers Gooding on the CRPD, one by Tabitha Collingbourne on the Care Act, and one by me on the way forward for DOLS.

It’s also got a lot on disability more generally.



A NHS Trust v Dr A: A New Bournewood Gap?

At issue in this post is the situation where a deprivation of liberty may be required for practical purposes, but is apparently precluded by the eligibility requirements contained in schedule 1A of the MCA.

This situation arose in A NHS Trust v Dr A [2013] EWHC 2442 (COP). At the relevant time, Dr A, an Iranian doctor wishing to claim refugee status in the UK, was detained under s 3 of the Mental Health Act with a diagnosis of either paranoid personality disorder or a psychotic disorder. His passport had been confiscated by the UK Border Agency pending his enforced return to Iran, and he had commenced a hunger strike in an attempt to obtain its return. At the time of the court hearing, his weight was dangerously low. He had been force fed with a PEG for some time, but had commenced to remove it and thus actively resist the artificial feeding, resulting in a requirement of his ongoing sedation. The question was therefore whether the artificial feeding could be continued. Continue reading

X v Finland – Are we in trouble?

The decision of the European Court of Human Rights in X v Finland (Application no. 34806/04; judgment of 3 July 2012) makes significant new law concerning the provision of mandatory psychiatric treatment. It is at best highly doubtful that the approach in the Mental Health Act 1983, where compulsory treatment flows from detention automatically and with limited distinct procedural and substantive safeguards, is consistent with Article 8 of the ECHR. Continue reading

Another reason why Ā£9000 tuition is a bad idea

Effective legal aid is essential to the running mental health law. Anyone who works in the field knows that the considerable bulk of people admitted to psychiatric facilities have few if any assets; without effective legal aid they will not have effective representation. It is disturbing that no one appears to have given serious thought to the effect of high tuition fees on legal aid practice. Continue reading