Patricia Davies (by her mother and litigation friend Zelda Davies) v Chief Constable of Merseyside  EWCA Civ 114 – read judgment
The Court of Appeal has considered the compatibility with Article 8 ECHR of the police’s removal of a 14 year old girl’s clothing after she had been arrested and taken to a police station.
The background facts were that the claimant was arrested outside a kebab shop in Argyle Street, Birkenhead. Her behaviour was uncontrolled and aggressive and she was handcuffed and taken to Wirral police station. The custody officer ordered that her clothing should be removed because she was a suicide risk. She was taken to a room by three female officers who removed her clothing and dressed her in a safety gown. She was then placed in a cell in which she could be observed by means of internal CCTV. Continue reading →
Michael and others (Appellants) v The Chief Constable of South Wales Police and another (Respondents)  UKSC 2 – read judgment
Duncan Fairgrieve of 1 Crown Office Row was part of the team of counsel representing the appellants in this case. He has had nothing to do with the writing of this post.
The Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to the long-standing rule that the police owe no duty of care in negligence in the context of protecting victims from potential future crimes.
The background facts to the case are shocking. On 5 August 2009, at 2.29am, Ms Michael dialled 999 from her mobile phone. She told the call handler at the Gwent Police call centre that her ex-boyfriend was aggressive; he had just turned up at her house; he had found her with another man; he had bitten her ear really hard; he then drove the other man home with Ms Michael’s car but, before doing so, told her that he would return to hit her; that he was going to be back “any minute literally” and, according to the recorded transcript of the conversation, that her ex-boyfriend had told her “I’m going to drop him home and (inaudible) [fucking kill you]”. Continue reading →
Human rights protection for residents in private care homes could be a step closer after the House of Lords passed an amendment to the Care Bill.
The amendment, moved by Lord Low of Dalston and supported by Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC and Lord Pannick QC, makes clear that a person who provides regulated “social care” is to be taken for the purposes of subsection 6(3)(b) of the Human Rights Act 1998 to be exercising a function of a public nature.
It is the latest development in a long-running battle to secure human rights protection for service users who are not in local authority-run care homes.
In August we commented on the risk that long-awaited reform of the coronial system would be shelved by the Ministry of Justice, arguing that the wait for promised reforms had left relatives of the dead in legal limbo.
To the dismay of campaigners, the new office of the Chief Coroner for England and Wales has fallen victim to the “bonfire of the quangos“.
The latest statistics on “rule 43 reports”, where coroners make reports to prevent future deaths, show that deaths in custody account for 11% of reports made, up from just over 6% in the twoprevious reporting periods.
Since July 2008 coroners have had a wider power to make reports to prevent future deaths and a person who receives a report must send a response within 56 days.
With apologies, this post originally appeared with the wrong title
The Court of Appeal has ruled on two linked challenges to the entitlement to welfare benefits of prisoners detained in psychiatric hospitals. One claim alleged unlawful discrimination as compared with other psychiatric patients not serving sentences, in breach of Article 14 ECHR, taken together with Article 1 Protocol 1 ECHR. The other claim raised a point of construction of the relevant regulations affecting one category of such prisoners
The discrimination aspect of the case considered two categories of convicted, sentenced prisoners: those transferred to psychiatric hospitals under section 47 of the Mental Health Act 1983, and those subject to hospital and limitation directions under section 45A of the Act. Prisoners in the first category are transferred after sentence, and generally after serving time in prison, while those in the second were subject to a direction at the same time as they are sentenced. Such prisoners were to be contrasted with, on the one hand, convicted prisoners who serve their sentence in prison and, on the other, patients who have been detained under purely civil law powers or under section 37 of the Act (that is, following conviction, but without any sentence having been passed). Continue reading →
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