• In A v (1) East Sussex County Council (2) Chief Constable of Sussex, the High Court held that the removal of a baby from her young mother with a police protection order (not a court order) was not a breach of the mother’s human rights. Social Services were concerned about the baby’s wellbeing due to fears that the mother was fabricating symptoms. The mother and baby were later placed under supervision in a placement, where the staff confi rmed that the mother had cared entirely appropriately for her baby. The court considered that Social Services had been “heavy handed” in dealing with the situation.  
  • The Court of Appeal has maintained the distinction between voluntary and involuntary mental health patients when considering the obligations of health providers. In the case of Rabone v Penine Care NHS Trust, the court held that the Trust defendant did not have an operational obligation under Article 2, the right to life, to a voluntary patient in hospital who was suffering from physical or mental illness, even where there was a real or immediate risk of death. The parents of Ms Rabone, a 24 year old voluntary mental health patient who had suffered from a recurrent depressive disorder, appealed against a decision that the NHS Trust was not in breach of Article 2 after she committed suicide during two days’ home leave. The appeal was dismissed. In the absence of enforced detention, any claim arising from the death would be one for negligence (breach of the duty of care) rather than for a breach of human rights.  
  • In the case of G v E, the Court of Appeal considered the care arrangements for a 19 year old patient with severe learning diffi culties and whether it was in his best interests to remain in a residential unit or return to his foster placement. The court held that a person who lacks mental capacity can be detained under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 if the Court of Protection considers it is in that individual’s best interests, without the court having to satisfy any further additional threshold conditions under Article 5.