Illegality

Illegality


CategoryArticles Author Judith Ayling QC Date

On 30 October 2020 the Supreme Court handed down judgment in two appeals about the effect of illegality: Ecila Henderson v Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust [2020] UKSC 43 and Stoffel & Co v Grondona [2020] UKSC 42.  In each the Supreme Court examined the effect of Patel v Mirza [2016] UKSC 42; [2017] UKSC 467.

Ecila Henderson v Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust was heard on 11-12 May 2020 by a 7-Justice Supreme Court (given that it was being asked to depart from an earlier decision of the House of Lords pursuant to the House of Lords’ 1966 Practice Statement  (Judicial Precedent) [1966] 1 WLR 1234).  There is a single judgment, that of Lord Hamblen, with whom the other members of the Court agreed.

On 25 August 2010, the Appellant, who had previously been diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, stabbed her mother to death whilst experiencing a serious psychotic episode. It was common ground between the parties that this would not have happened but for the Respondent’s breaches of duty in failing to respond in an appropriate way to the Appellant’s deteriorating mental health at the time. The Appellant pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility and had been subject to a hospital order under section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983 and detention pursuant to section 41 of the same Act ever since. She claimed damages caused by her killing of her mother under six heads: (i) damages for the depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder; (ii) damages for loss of liberty; (iii) loss of amenity; (iv) £61,944 being the share in her mother’s estate which she did not inherit due to operation of the Forfeiture Act 1982; (v) cost of psychotherapy; (vi) cost of a care manager/support worker.  Her claim for those heads of loss was dismissed by Mr Justice Jay, and the Appellant’s appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed.

You can read Judith Ayling’s full post on our Civil Law Blog here.


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