McCann v The State Hospitals Board for Scotland: SC 11 Apr 2017

A challenge by request for judicial review to the legality of the comprehensive ban on smoking at the State Hospital at Carstairs which the State Hospitals Board adopted. The appellant, a detained patient, did not challenge the ban on smoking indoors, but rather as to the ban on smoking in the grounds and on home visits, which, by creating a comprehensive ban, prevented detained patients from smoking anywhere.
Held: The appeal was allowed in part. The respondent had not considered the principle that their actions should represent the minimum interference with a restrained person’s freedoms necessary to achieve the intended purpose. The absolute prohibition on having tobacco products and the related powers to search and confiscate were illegal and were nullified.
‘The Board did not purport to act under the 2003 Act in instituting the policy of prohibiting the possession of tobacco products, searching for such products and confiscating them. It may be the case that the consultation exercises which the Board carried out during 2011 were sufficient to comply with the obligations in section 1(2) and (3) of the 2003 Act. But there appears to have been no consideration of the obligation under section 1(4) nor compliance with the obligations to inform and record in the 2005 Regulations. This is not surprising as the Board considered that it was acting under the 1978 Act.’


Lady Hale, Deputy President, Lord Mance, Lord Wilson, Lord Reed, Lord Hodge


[2017] UKSC 31, [2017] 1 WLR 1455, 2017 GWD 12-169, 2017 SLT 451, [2017] 4 All ER 449, (2017) 156 BMLR 35, [2017] WLR(D) 268, UKSC 2015/0135


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Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003, European Convention on Human Rights 8




Outer HouseCM, Re Judicial Review SCS 27-Aug-2013
(Outer House) The prisoner, held in a high security psychiatric hospital, challenged the outright ban on smoking.
Held: The Lord Ordinary declared that the impugned decision was unlawful so far as it affected Mr McCann both because it was not . .
Extra Div Inner HouseSN v Secretary of State for The Home Department SCS 14-Jan-2014
Extra Division, Inner House – . .
Appeal FromReclaiming Motion Charles McCann v The State Hospital Board for Scotland SCS 12-Aug-2014
Inner House – The house considered a reclaiming motion (appeal) as to the lawfulness of a decision by the respondents to prohibit smoking and the possession of tobacco in the buildings and grounds of the State Hospital, Carstairs. The Board . .
CitedLyons, Re Judicial Review SCS 2-Feb-2011
The petitioner was a detained patient, subject to both a compulsion and restriction orders. He objected to a policy restricting visitors from bringing food parcels, and restricting ordering food from outside.
Held: Lady Dorrian held that the . .
CitedG, Regina (on the Application of) v Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust Admn 20-May-2008
The applicants were detained at Rampton. The form of detention denied the access to space in which they would be able to smoke cigarettes to comply with the law.
Held: The claim failed. The legislative objectives were sufficiently serious to . .
CitedMunjaz v The United Kingdom ECHR 17-Jul-2012
The applicant was detained in a secure mental hospital. He complained that he had been held in seclusion.
Held: The complaints under articles 5 and 8 were admissible, but there had been no violation of the applicant’s rights in these . .
CitedBruggeman and Scheuten v Federal Republic of Germany ECHR 12-Jul-1977
(Commission) The applicants complained at restrictions on the termination of unwanted pregnancies.
Held: Article 8(1) secures to the individual a sphere within which he can freely pursue the development and fulfilment of his personality. He . .
CitedMarckx v Belgium ECHR 13-Jun-1979
Recognition of illegitimate children
The complaint related to the manner in which parents were required to adopt their own illegitimate child in order to increase his rights. Under Belgian law, no legal bond between an unmarried mother and her child results from the mere fact of birth. . .
CitedNiemietz v Germany ECHR 16-Dec-1992
A lawyer complained that a search of his offices was an interference with his private life.
Held: In construing the term ‘private life’, ‘it would be too restrictive to limit the notion of an ‘inner circle’ in which the individual may live his . .
CitedCountryside Alliance and others, Regina (on the Application of) v Attorney General and Another HL 28-Nov-2007
The appellants said that the 2004 Act infringed their rights under articles 8 11 and 14 and Art 1 of protocol 1.
Held: Article 8 protected the right to private and family life. Its purpose was to protect individuals from unjustified intrusion . .
CitedPretty v The United Kingdom ECHR 29-Apr-2002
Right to Life Did Not include Right to Death
The applicant was paralysed and suffered a degenerative condition. She wanted her husband to be allowed to assist her suicide by accompanying her to Switzerland. English law would not excuse such behaviour. She argued that the right to die is not . .
CitedLondon Borough of Harrow v Qazi HL 31-Jul-2003
The applicant had held a joint tenancy of the respondent. His partner gave notice and left, and the property was taken into possession. The claimant claimed restoration of his tenancy saying the order did not respect his right to a private life and . .
CitedRaymond v Honey HL 4-Mar-1981
The defendant prison governor had intercepted a prisoner’s letter to the Crown Office for the purpose of raising proceedings to have the governor committed for an alleged contempt of court.
Held: The governor was in contempt of court. Subject . .
CitedRegina v Broadmoor Hospital Authority, Ex p S CA 1998
Routine and random searches may be an incident of therapeutic detention and treatment. . .
CitedHirst v United Kingdom (2) ECHR 6-Oct-2005
(Grand Chamber) The applicant said that whilst a prisoner he had been banned from voting. The UK operated with minimal exceptions, a blanket ban on prisoners voting.
Held: Voting is a right not a privilege. It was a right central in a . .
CitedBank Mellat v Her Majesty’s Treasury (No 2) SC 19-Jun-2013
The bank challenged measures taken by HM Treasury to restrict access to the United Kingdom’s financial markets by a major Iranian commercial bank, Bank Mellat, on the account of its alleged connection with Iran’s nuclear weapons and ballistic . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Health, Prisons, Human Rights

Updated: 03 August 2022; Ref: scu.581645