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England and Wales Court of Protection Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales Court of Protection Decisions >> RD (anorexia : compulsory treatment)  EWCOP 35 (12 January 2021)
Cite as:  COPLR 593,  EWCOP 35
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IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE, FAMILY DIVISION
B e f o r e :
| A MIDLANDS NHS TRUST
|- and -
|RD (via her Litigation Friend, the Official Solicitor)
A Midlands Clinical Commissioning Group
Mr Conrad Hallin (Counsel) on behalf of the Applicant and the Fourth Respondent
Ms Emma Sutton (Counsel) on behalf of the First Respondent
Mr John McKendrick QC (Counsel) on behalf of the Second and Third Respondents
Crown Copyright ©
IMPORTANT NOTICE This judgment was delivered in private. The judge has given leave for this version of the judgment to be published. Other than the fact that it was an application by a Midlands NHS Trust and the names of any expert witnesses and the lawyers instructed in the case, nobody may be identified by name or location. The anonymity of everyone other than the expert witnesses and the lawyers must be strictly preserved. All persons, including representatives of the media, must ensure that this condition is strictly complied with. Failure to do so will be a contempt of court.
(a) anyone named by the person as someone to be consulted on the matter in question or on matters of that kind,
(b) anyone engaged in caring for the person or interested in [her] welfare,
(c) any donee of a lasting power of attorney granted by the person, and
(d) any deputy appointed for the person by the court,
as to what would be in the person's best interests and, in particular, as to the matters mentioned [above]."
"a profound respect for sanctity of human life is embedded in our law and our moral philosophy."
But as Lady Hale said in P v Cheshire West  UKSC 19:
"It is axiomatic that people with disabilities, both mental and physical, have the same human rights as the rest of the human race. It may be that those rights have sometimes to be limited or restricted because of their disabilities, but the starting point should be the same as that for everyone else. This flows inexorably from the universal character of human rights, founded on the inherent dignity of all human beings, and is confirmed in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities."
"All reasonable steps which are in the person's best interests should be taken to prolong their life. There will be a limited number of cases where treatment is futile, overly burdensome to the patient or where there is no prospect of recovery. In circumstances such as these, it may be that an assessment of best interests leads to the conclusion that it would be in the best interests of the patient to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment, even if this may result in the person's death. The decision-maker must make a decision based on the best interests of the person who lacks capacity. They must not be motivated by a desire to bring about the person's death for whatever reason, even if this is from a sense of compassion. Healthcare and social care staff should also refer to relevant professional guidance when making decisions regarding life-sustaining treatment."
"In my judgment where the approved clinician makes a decision not to impose treatment under section 63, and where the consequences of that decision may prove to be life-threatening, then the NHS trust in question would be well advised, as it has here, to apply to the High Court for declaratory relief. The hearing will necessarily involve a 'full merits review' of the initial decision. It would be truly bizarre if such a full merits review were held where a positive decision was made under section 63, but not where there was a negative one, especially where one considers that the negative decision may have far more momentous consequences (i.e. death) than the positive one."