The duty of a local authority to seek to provide resources to care for a mental patient after release into the community, is not absolute, and is subject to the limitations of the availability of a sufficient budget. A continued detention in hospital of a patient because of the absence of such proper provision was not an infringement of his human rights. Section117 does not impose on health authorities an absolute obligation to implement the conditions for a patient’s discharge from hospital required by a tribunal; the authorities’ duty is, in general, to use reasonable endeavours to secure compliance with those conditions.
Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers MR: ‘Putting on one side the question of compliance with article 5 of the Convention, I can see no justification for interpreting section 117 so as to impose on health authorities an absolute obligation to satisfy any conditions that a tribunal may specify as prerequisites to the discharge of a patient. The section does not expressly impose any such requirement, nor is it reasonable to imply such a requirement. The applicant’s suggested interpretation would place upon health authorities a duty which, on occasion, would be impossible to perform. The applicant’s skeleton argument suggested that there was more that the health authority could have done to persuade a forensic psychiatrist to provide the aftercare required by the tribunal. The decision of the judge was to the contrary, and there is no basis upon which that decision can be challenged. An interpretation of section 117 which imposed on health authorities absolute duties which they would not necessarily be able to perform would be manifestly unreasonable.’
Master of the Rolls (Lord Phillips) Lord Justice Buxton And Lord Justice Sedley
Gazette 20-Apr-2001, Times 15-Mar-2001,  EWCA Civ 240,  QB 198
European Convention on Human Rights Art 5, Mental Health Act 1983 37 41 117(2)
England and Wales
Appeal from – Regina v Camden and Islington Health Authority, Ex Parte K Admn 9-Jun-2000
Cited – Johnson v The United Kingdom ECHR 24-Oct-1997
Mr Johnson awaited trial for crimes of violence. He was diagnosed mentally ill, and on conviction made subject to a hospital order, and restricted without limit of time. He made progress, but was not discharged or re-classified. At a fourth tribunal . .
Cited – Regina v Ealing District Health Authority, ex parte Fox 1993
A patient’s conditional discharge had been ordered by a tribunal. One of the conditions imposed by the tribunal was the appointment by the health authority of a responsible medical officer to provide psychiatric supervision of the patient in the . .
Cited – Regina v Mental Health Review Tribunal; Torfaen County Borough Council and Gwent Health Authority ex parte Hall Admn 23-Apr-1999
The tribunal had ordered the conditional discharge of the patient, subject to conditions to be satisfied by the local health authority. The authority had failed to make the arrangements which would have satisfied the relevant conditions, and as a . .
Appealed to – Regina v Camden and Islington Health Authority, Ex Parte K Admn 9-Jun-2000
Cited – Regina v Secretary of State for the Home Department and Another ex parte IH HL 13-Nov-2003
The appellant had been found unfit to plead after assaulting his son, and he had been detained under the 1964 Act. He alleged his detention was in breach of his right to a fair trial. His release had been authorised subject to the appointment of a . .
Cited – Regina (W) v Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council Admn 13-Feb-2003
The claimant sought damages for false imprisonment. The mental health tribunal had ordered his release, but the respondent had delayed that release.
Held: False imprisonment is established on proof of imprisonment without lawful authority. An . .
Cited – M, Regina (on the Application of) v Gateshead Council CA 14-Mar-2006
The applicant had left care, but still received assistance. She was arrested and the police asked the attending social worker to arrange secure accommodation overnight. The respondent refused. The court was asked what duty (if any) is owed by local . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 December 2020; Ref: scu.135560