Judge: Lord Justice Tomlins, Lord Justice McCombe, Lord Justice Beatson
Citation:  EWCA Civ 1313
In Jubair Ali v (1) David Graham Caton (2) Motor Insurers’ Bureau  EWCA Civ 1313, the Court of Appeal considered an appeal against an award made in a personal injury claim following a road traffic accident which left the claimant with a serious brain injury. The original judgment For the purposes of this Newsletter the interesting ground of appeal is the one which challenged the judge’s finding that the claimant lacked capacity to manage his property and financial affairs.
This was one of 4 grounds of appeal and was dealt with at paragraphs 51 – 69 of McCombe LJ’s judgment (with which the 2 other judges agreed).
The defendant argued: (i) that the judge did not properly apply the provisions of the MCA 2005; (ii) that the judge’s conclusions on lack of capacity were inconsistent with his finding that the claimant passed the UK Citizenship Test; and (iii) that the judge could not properly find a lack of capacity without impeaching the material expert evidence.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, holding that the judge was entitled to conclude that the claimant lacked capacity (notwithstanding the statutory presumption), having regard to the sum total of the evidence.
McCombe LJ rejected the contention advanced by the defendant that the judge was wrong to place reliance on evidence other than that of the neuropsychologists (particularly that of the psychiatrists) in circumstances where all the experts had deferred to the neuropsychologists, finding that the question of mental capacity was ultimately a matter for the court. The evidence from the neuropsychologists was an important facet in the equation but the judge had to weigh that with the evidence from other quarters as to how the claimant presented and how in practice he functioned in day-to-day life. In other words: “[t]he opinion formed in the consulting room does not dictate what happens on the street or in the home”.