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R (DB) v Nottingham Healthcare NHS Trust (2008) EWCA Civ 1354

Rachel Turner represented the claimant DB in a successful appeal concerning admission for treatment and compulsory detention under the Mental Health Act 1983.

A hospital order, issued on 17 December 2004, mistakenly ordered that DB be admitted to a secure unit within 28 days.  The consultant forensic psychiatrist had actually recommended admission to a medium secure unit.  The order was varied to correct the mistake on 21 December 2004.

However, when the claimant was admitted to the medium secure unit on 17 January 2005, he claimed that this was outside the 28-day limit of the original order.

Initially dismissed in the High Court, the claim was upheld on appeal.  Stanley Burton LJ clarified that although the validity of the order of 17 December 2004 was not at issue, the variance did not alter the expiry date of the order so, after 14 January 2004, there was no longer any authority to admit DB to the medium secure unit nor to detain him there.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

Rachel Turner, Miles & Partners Solicitors, London

Rachel Turner

Partner
Joint Head of Mental Health & Capacity Department

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