A.X. v Mental Health Tribunal and Another

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMr Justice David Keane
Judgment Date19 December 2014
Neutral Citation[2014] IEHC 592
CourtHigh Court
Docket Number[2014 No. 319 JR]
Date19 December 2014

[2014] IEHC 592

THE HIGH COURT

[No. 319JR/2014]
X (A) v Mental Health Tribunal & Clinical Director of St John of God's Hospital
No Redaction Needed
JUDICIAL REVIEW

BETWEEN

A.X.
APPLICANT

AND

THE MENTAL HEALTH TRIBUNAL

AND

THE CLINICAL DIRECTOR OF ST. JOHN OF GOD's HOSPITAL
RESPONDENTS

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S12

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S12(2)

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S10

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S3

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S3(1)(A)

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S3(1)(B)

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S20

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S17

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S17(1)(C)

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S3(1)(B)(i)

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S3(1)(B)(ii)

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S18(3)

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S15(1)

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S15(2)

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S19

HAN v PRESIDENT OF THE CIRCUIT COURT 2011 1 IR 504 2008/28/6071 2008 IEHC 160

G (E) v MENTAL HEALTH TRIBUNAL 2013 1 IR 815 2013/21/6130 2013 IEHC 617

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S18(5)

D (M) v CLINICAL DIRECTOR OF ST BRENDANS HOSPITAL & GANNON 2008 1 IR 632

R (M) v BYRNE & ORS 2007 3 IR 211 2007/52/11211 2007 IEHC 73

GOODEN v ST OTTERANS HOSPITAL 2005 3 IR 617 2001/11/2896

CLARKE, IN RE 1950 IR 235

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S72(4)

MENTAL TREATMENT ACT 1945 S184

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S15

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S18(1)(A)(i)

FAULKNER v MIN FOR INDUSTRY 1997 8 ELR 107 1997/3/962

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S18(1)(A)

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S19(4)

DEERLAND CONSTRUCTION LTD v AQUACULTURE LICENCES APPEALS BOARD & MIN FOR COMMUNCIATIONS 2009 1 IR 673 2008/11/2331 2008 IEHC 289

MULHOLLAND & KINSELLA v BORD PLEANALA 2006 1 IR 453 2006 1 ILRM 287 2005/40/8371 2005 IEHC 306

PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT ACT 2000 S50

PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT ACT 2000 S34(10)

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S3(1)

O'DONOGHUE v BORD PLEANALA & TALLON PROPERTIES LTD 1991 ILRM 750 1991/5/1081

R (ASHWORTH HOSPITAL AUTHORITY) v MENTAL HEALTH REVIEW TRIBUNAL FOR WEST MIDLANDS & NORTHWEST REGION 2002 MHLR 13 2001 AER (D) 135 (NOV) 2001 EWHC ADMIN 901

X, IN RE 2008 MHLR 97 2008 NIQB 22

MENTAL HEALTH (NORTHERN IRELAND CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS) ORDER 1986 SI 596/1986

Q (W) v MENTAL HEALTH CMSN & ORS 2007 3 IR 755 2007/52/11134 2007 IEHC 154

L (R) v CLINICAL DIRECTOR OF SAINT BRENDANS HOSPITAL & ORS UNREP SUPREME 15.2.2008 2012/22/6368

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S13

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S14

CUDDEN v CLINICAL DIRECTOR OF ST BRIGIDS HOSPITAL UNREP SUPREME 13.3.2009 (EX TEMPORE)

H (E) v CLINICAL DIRECTOR OF ST VINCENTS HOSPITAL & ORS 2009 3 IR 774 2009 2 ILRM 149 2009/24/5948 2009 IESC 46

MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001 S24

GOOLD v JUDGE COLLINS & ORS 2005 1 ILRM 1 2004/19/4389 2004 IESC 38

CONSTITUTION ART 40

Mental Health Tribunal – Involuntary Admission – Mental Health Act 2001 – Statutory Obligations – Judicial Review

Facts: The applicant in this case sought to challenge the decision of a Mental Health Tribunal ('the Tribunal') to affirm an order directing her involuntary admission to St. John of God"s Hospital for treatment of a mental disorder, on the ground that it failed to give proper reasons for its decision to affirm the admission order. The Tribunal contented that it did provide adequate reasons. However, the Tribunal argued that even if its reasons were inadequate the proceedings were moot. An Garda Síochána had taken the applicant into custody under s. 12 of the Mental Health Act 2001 ('the 2001 Act') because they believed she was suffering from a mental disorder with a risk of causing serious harm to herself or others.

The admitting consultant psychiatrist was of the opinion that the applicant was suffering from a mental illness that required involuntary admission on the risk ground contained in s. 3(1) of the 2001 Act. Section 17 of the 2001 Act imposes three obligations on the Mental Health Commission ('the Commission'): first, to refer the matter to a tribunal; second, to ensure legal representation for the person detained; and third, to have an independent consultant psychiatrist examine the patient, review the patient"s records, and interview the consultant psychiatrist responsible for the patient"s treatment and care.

The independent consultant psychiatrist"s report stated that the applicant was suffering from a mental disorder within the meaning of s. 3(1) of the 2001 Act and needed to be detained longer. The Tribunal reviewed the applicant"s detention after a period of time and affirmed the admission order. The consultant responsible for the care and treatment of the applicant made a renewal order to extend the applicant"s detention. A further independent consultant"s report was prepared following the renewal order stating, that at the time the report was prepared, the applicant was suffering from a mental disorder within the definition of s. 3(1)(b) of the 2001 Act.

A new tribunal was convened to review the applicant"s detention on foot of the renewal order; however, it was adjourned to await the outcome of this case. The applicant has since been discharged. Prior to this the applicant applied for leave to apply for judicial review. The application was heard and treated as a full hearing on the merits of the judicial review application. Section 18(5) of the 2001 Act requires that written notice of the tribunal"s decision on the review of the detention of a patient in relation to an admission order or a renewal order shall be given to the Commission; the consultant psychiatrist responsible for the care and treatment of the patient concerned; the patient and his or her legal representative; and any other person to whom, in the opinion of the tribunal, such notice should be given.

Held by Keane J: The court considered the Tribunal"s reasons for its decision to affirm the renewal order detaining the applicant. The first reason was the severity of the illness. The court agreed with the Tribunal in relation to its findings based on the evidence. The applicant"s judgement was impaired due to the severity of her schizophrenia. The second reason was the Tribunal was concerned that the applicant"s condition would severely deteriorate if she was not detained and treated appropriately. The court agreed. The third reason was that the Tribunal believed the applicant"s detention would alleviate her condition. The Tribunal felt it was premature to discharge the patient from hospital when the treatment was benefiting her to such an extent. The court was satisfied from the facts that the decision of the Tribunal to affirm the detention order was valid in substance and form.

The applicant contended that the Tribunal had erred in law by affirming the admission order. The applicant argued that the Tribunal had not made any direct or indirect finding that the applicant"s mental illness met the additional criteria for a mental disorder required under s. 3(1)(a) of the 2001 Act. The court reiterated the definition of mental disorder under s. 3(1) of the 2001 Act and clarified that it was not open-ended. The applicant"s mental illness and evidence to that effect was conclusive. The court concluded that the reasons provided by the tribunal supported its finding that the applicant met the criteria under s. 3(1)(b). The court found no basis to support the applicant"s argument that the Tribunal failed to provide adequate reasons in deciding to affirm the admission order.

The court refused the reliefs sought by the applicant because the tribunal had provided adequate reasons for its decision. As the tribunal"s decision in relation to the original admission order was in no way defective, it did not taint the subsequent renewal order under which the applicant was later detained. The court said there was no domino effect between any alleged defect in the decision of a Mental Health Tribunal on the review of an admission order or subsequent renewal order except where there has been a gross abuse of power. The court also rejected the applicant"s second argument challenging the validity of the renewal order. The court did not accept that the Tribunal"s reasons were inadequate in any way. Furthermore, even if the Tribunal"s reasons were inadequate such inadequacy would fail to render the detention of the applicant as unlawful. The court concluded that the proceedings were moot and refused the application because the applicant did not have the right to the discretionary remedy of judicial review.

1

JUDGMENT of Mr Justice David Keane delivered on the 19th of December 2014

Introduction
2

1. In these proceedings, the applicant seeks to challenge the decision of a Mental Health Tribunal ("the tribunal") to affirm an order directing her involuntary admission to St. John of God's Hospital ("the hospital") for the treatment of a mental disorder, on the ground that the tribunal failed to provide proper or adequate reasons for that decision. The tribunal, which denies that it failed to provide proper reasons for its decision, contends that the applicant's case is, in any event, moot.

The admission
3

2. On the 27 th April 2014, a member of An Garda Síochána took the applicant into custody under s. 12 of the Mental Health Act 2001 ("the 2001 Act"). Section 12 permits that step to be taken where the member concerned has reasonable grounds for believing that the person concerned is suffering from a mental disorder because of which there is a serious likelihood of that person causing immediate and serious harm to herself or to others.

4

3. As he was required to do under s. 12 (2) of the 2001 Act, the member concerned immediately applied to a registered medical practitioner for a recommendation that the applicant be involuntarily admitted to a specified approved centre.

5

4. The registered medical practitioner concerned, having examined the applicant and being satisfied that she was then suffering from a mental disorder, made a recommendation under s. 10 of the 2001 Act in the...

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    ...particular reliance being placed on the decision in M.R. v Byrne [2007] 3 IR 211 and the later decision in A.X. v Mental Health Tribunal [2014] 1 IR 88. In essence, it is submitted on behalf of the respondent that the latter discharged its functions and duties pursuant to the 2001 Act. It i......
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