On appeal from: [2017] EWCA Civ 194

This appeal considered whether a statutory power to impose conditions amounting to a deprivation of liberty can ever lawfully be ‘implied’ and whether the framework for Community Treatment Orders provides practical and effective protection for patients’ rights under the ECHR rights. It also considered what the scope is of a tribunal’s power to take into account ECHR rights.

The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal. The Court declared that there is no power to impose conditions in a Community Treatment Order which have the effect of depriving a patient of his liberty. The Court considered that there is no express power in the Mental Health Act 1983, s 17B(2) to impose conditions which have the effect of depriving a community patient of his liberty. It is a fundamental principle of statutory construction that a power expressed in general words should not be construed to interfere with fundamental rights such as the right to liberty of the person. The Court considered that there is no reason to suppose that Parliament would have included such a power in the Mental Health Act had it been thought of, and argued that a strong indication to the contrary is the fact that Community Treatment Order conditions cannot compel a patient to take his medication.

For judgment, please download: [2018] UKSC 66
For Court’s Press Summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII

To watch the hearing, please visit: Supreme Court Website (22 Oct 2018 morning session) (22 Oct 2018 afternoon session)