Court of Protection

“Serjeants’ Inn stands out as a top choice for complex medical and healthcare cases, and has a very impressive track record of handling the leading and most publicised cases in the area”
Chambers & Partners

COURT OF PROTECTION

Serjeants’ Inn is at the cutting-edge of the law concerning decision making for those lacking capacity. Our Court of Protection team, led by Michael Mylonas QC,  is highly ranked by the independent legal directory, Chambers & Partners, which describes Serjeants’ Inn as “the strongest chambers for serious medical treatment cases in the Court of Protection in terms of the number of experienced counsel and the amount of work they undertake.”

Our expertise in this area is underlined by the fact that we write and edit the only comprehensive legal text book in this field, Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law. The third edition, edited by Christopher Johnston QC, was published in November 2016 and was written by 23 members of Serjeants’ Inn.

The team’s work encompasses all areas of human rights and civil liberties in health, social care and financial decision making with members advising and representing statutory bodies, incapable people and their families in cases covering a very wide range of legal and factual issues.

We have been instructed in a number of the key cases over the last 12 months or so, including:

  • Re MN: Fiona Paterson is instructed as junior counsel for the Clinical Commissioning Group in this appeal in which the Supreme Court will rule on the jurisdictional limits of the Court of Protection and the extent of parties’ rights under Articles 6 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • Briggs: Conrad Hallin appeared for the NHS Trust and CCG in this seminal case determining the limits of s21A of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) before the Vice President of the Court of Protection.
  • Re JM: Bridget Dolan QC, Conrad Hallin and Amy Street all appeared in this landmark test case before the Vice President to determine the lawfulness of procedural steps following the Supreme Court decision in Cheshire West. Charles J placed responsibility on central government to ensure that those lacking mental capacity had independent representation in circumstances where they were deprived of their liberty, whilst finding that local authorities and CCGs had no statutory duty to provide such representation. The judge criticised the MoJ and DoH for their “avoidant approach that prioritises budgetary considerations over responsibilities to vulnerable people”. The case has implications for thousands of sensitive court applications regarding vulnerable persons every year. Described by the Law Society as an “unprecedented judgment.
  • Re X: Michael Mylonas QC and Conrad Hallin were instructed in this hugely significant Court of Protection case in which the court tried to identify a cost effective and lawful way of dealing with the many thousands of Deprivation of Liberty applications that were being made each month.
  • King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust v (1) C (2) V [2016] COPLR 50: Michael Horne QC acted for the NHS trust and Katie Gollop QC was instructed by the Official Solicitor in this notorious case concerning a socialite who had ‘lost her sparkle’ and was held to have capacity to refuse life-sustaining treatment.
  • M v N and the Bury CCG and Another [2015] EWCOP 76, [2016] COPLR 88: Katie Gollop QC was instructed in this important decision concerning the weight to be attached to evidence about the patient’s wishes and feelings in relation to the withdrawal of life sustaining treatment. The patient had multiple sclerosis and had a prolonged disorder of consciousness as a result. There was a dispute between the experts as to whether she was in a vegetative or minimally conscious state: the court found she was minimally conscious. The court declared that it was not in her best interests to continue to receive life sustaining treatment.

 

24 Hour Urgent Advice

Our Court of Protection team provides a 24 hour service, 365 days a year to arrange for urgent advice and representation on applications including declarations. For more details about our emergency service please click here.



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