Thursday law report: County court could make interim order
Regina v Central London County Court and another, ex parte London
Court of Appeal (Lord Justice Stuart-Smith, Lord Justice Henry and Lord Justice Robert Walker) 15 March 1999
THE COUNTY court had jurisdiction to make ex parte or interim orders for displacement of a patient's nearest relative under section 29(3)(c) of the Mental Health Act 1983, but it was generally preferable that questions under section 29(3)(c) should be finally determined before an application was made for the patient's compulsory admission to hospital under section 3.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the applicant's appeal against the dismissal of his application for judicial review of two orders of the county court displacing his mother as his nearest relative for the purposes of the Mental Health Act 1983, and a decision to admit him compulsorily to hospital for treatment.
The applicant had a long history of schizophrenia with admissions to hospital since 1985. His mother was the statutory nearest relative under section 26 of the Mental Health Act 1983. On 5 March 1996 an approved social worker applied under section 4 of the 1983 Act for emergency admission of the applicant to hospital. On 6 March the applicant was regraded to a section 2 patient, i.e. one who had been admitted for assessment.
On 8 March a county court judge, purporting to act under section 29(3)(c) of the Act, made an order on an ex parte application purporting to displace the applicant's mother as his nearest relative until further order, on the the ground that she had unreasonably objected to the making of an application for admission for treatment. He ordered that the matter be relisted for 15 March so that consideration might be given to the continuance of the order.
On 15 March the application to displace the applicant's mother was considered inter partes by another county court judge, who made an order continuing the previous order until 3 April. On 22 March the social services department, purporting to act as the applicant's nearest relative, applied for his compulsory admission to hospital for treatment under section 3 of the Act. The hospital admitted him, relying on the county court orders.
The applicant applied for judicial review of the county court orders of 8 and 15 March 1996 on the ground that the county court had no jurisdiction to make ex parte or interim orders but only to make final orders; and of the decision of the hospital managers of 22 March purporting to admit him for treatment under section 3 of the Act, on the ground that, if the county court orders were void, the admission was unlawful. His application was dismissed, and he appealed to the Court of Appeal.
Nigel Pleming QC and Rabinder Singh (Gill & Co) for the applicant; Christopher Katkowski (Treasury Solicitor) for the county court; Presiley Baxendale QC and Gerard Clarke (Radcliffes) for the hospital managers.
Lord Justice Stuart-Smith said that the general power in section 38 of the County Courts Act 1984 to make any order which could be made by the High Court if the proceedings were in the High Court was not expressly excluded by the Mental Health Act 1983.
Parliament had to be taken to have enacted the 1983 Act in the light of the existing powers of the court, and simply because the machinery existed in section 29(4) of the 1983 Act for the extension of the period for which a patient was liable to be detained by virtue of an application for admission for assessment until an application under section 29(3)(c) or (d) for the displacement of the patient's nearest relative had been finally disposed of, it did not necessarily mean that more general powers were excluded.
Accordingly, the county court had had jurisdiction to make the orders of 8 and 15 March, and it followed that the hospital's admission of the applicant under section 3 was not unlawful. It was, however, preferable that, unless there were cogent reasons to the contrary, questions under section 29(3)(c) should be finally determined before an application for compulsory admission under section 3 were made.
From the blogs
As England’s new football strip – made by Nike – is revealed today, new research shows the English F...
The Photography Blog: ‘Control Order House’ by Edmund Clark – Photographing our response to terrorism
Recent events in Boston have served as a painful reminder of the threat posed by terrorism. In Contr...
When I was first in talks about this job, I was surprised to hear we were planning to open on the we...
I’ve not heard many bands that had quite the same kick as Pendulum did. Their unbelievable fusion of...
Have shock jocks gone too far after Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut?
The ‘Beverly Hills’ of Surrey pays more income tax than big cities of the North
British business: We need to stay in the European Union - or risk losing up to £92bn a year
World news in pictures
British father faces charges after confessing to slitting his two children's throats in Lyon flat
- 1 The ‘Beverly Hills’ of Surrey pays more income tax than big cities of the North
- 2 Gareth Bale agrees new £130,000-a-week Tottenham contract - but can leave next season for £50m
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£350 - £500 per day: Progressive Recruitment: Project Manager - Public Sector ...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: HR Manager Independe...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Huxley Associates: INTERIM HR MANAGER - ...