Case Law

The following cases are just some of those relevant to policing and mental health, but include the major cases used in order to justify the opinions offered in these blogs posts.  I will add others to this page as they become relevant.

There was a violation of Article 3 where a person was detained in a police cell under s136 for a prolonged period after it was identified that he was in dire need of urgent psychiatric treatment.   The fact that there was no intention to degrade and no actual prolonged physical or mental consequence was not relevant.

Rules that a code of practice is not ‘mere advice’ but nor is it ‘binding instruction’.  It is statutory guidance which must be followed unless there are ‘cogent reasons for departure’.

The statutory framework for removal of patients to a place of safety is ss135/6 MHA and the framework for detention for urgent assessment is s4 MHA.  No power to remove someone to hospital under the MCA.

Mental Health Trusts owe a duty of care to patients detained under the Mental Health Act and those at risk of suicide.  Failing to take adaquate steps to mitigate those risks is a breach of Article 2 of the ECHR.

Mental Health Trusts owe a duty of care under Article 2 ECHR to voluntary patients as well as detained patients where they are a suicide risk; after they negligently agreed to a period of leave for a patient at high risk of suicide who subsequently killed herself.

In order to force entry to a premises to re-detain an AWOL patient, the police can only use s17 PACE if they have a genuine belief that life is imminently at risk.  Outside of these circumstances, a warrant under s135(2) is required.

A challenge against the police justifying entry to a premises under s17 PACE, ostensibly to “protect life or limb”, when the reason for their entry was a concern for someone’s welfare.  The court ruled that this is altogether too low a threshold and that officers need to have reasonable grounds to believe that life or limb is, literally, at risk.

The police were entitled to use force to enter a hotel room with the consent of the hotel owner and detain someone under the Mental Health Act despite the fact that the occupant of the room opposed by entry and they did not have a warrant under s135(1).

Civil claims against the police for acts done under the MHA cannot be brought without securing permission under s139 MHA from the High Court.  Both the Court of Appeal (2005) and the House of Lords (2007) ruled on appeal that this was correct.

A Human Rights claim (articles 6 and 14) was then brought that this denied the claimant a right of redress and this again was dismissed.

Did contain an incidental judgement about arrests under the MHA being unlawful where people are removed against their will from a dwelling to a public place and then detained under s136.

The CPS discriminated against a victim of crime by dropping a case of GBH with intent, because of the fact that they assumed the victim unreliable because they suffered from schizophrenia.  All victims must be treated as individuals, on a case by case basis.


BadgeThe Mental Health Cop blog won

– the Mind 2012 Digital Media Award, in memory and in honour of Mark Hanson.
The Awards celebrate the “best portrayals of and reporting on mental health in the media.”
– a World of Mentalists 2012 #TWIMAward for the best in mental health blogs.
It was described as “a unique mix of professional resource, help for people using services and polemic.”


2 thoughts on “Case Law

  1. what if social worker applies for a warrant and does a forced entry, acting as a AMHP but he is a social worker and not yet a qualified AMHP. Nearest relative wishes are ignoed. No warrant is shown and a different person claiming to be AMHP then claims to have filled in an A2 at the hospital

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