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No Judge Required: M (By her litigation Friend, Mrs B) v A Hospital; M (Withdrawal of Treatment: Need for Proceedings) (2017) EWCOP 19

Pywell, Stephanie M. (2019). No Judge Required: M (By her litigation Friend, Mrs B) v A Hospital; M (Withdrawal of Treatment: Need for Proceedings) (2017) EWCOP 19. Medical Law Review, 27(1) pp. 135–143.

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The two titles of the judgment on which this commentary is based reflect the fact that its scope was wider than resolving the legal matter at issue between two parties. It records the reasons for Jackson J’s decision on a set of facts, it clarifies whether legal proceedings were necessary and the form that they should take, and it explains why the Court of Protection appointed a patient’s mother as her litigation friend. The case arose from a request for a declaration that it would be lawful to withdraw clinically assisted nutrition and hydration from a woman with Huntingdon’s disease who had been in a minimally conscious state for about one year. The application for withdrawal was supported by everyone whose evidence was heard. Jackson J stated that, in such cases, clinicians would be protected by the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and that court proceedings were therefore unnecessary. He explained that, provided that certain criteria are met, and the circumstances are appropriate, a court may appoint a family member or friend—rather than the Official Solicitor—to act as a litigation friend. This commentary explores the implications of this judgment in the context of very recent clinical developments.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2018 The Author
ISSN: 1464-3790
Keywords: disorders of consciousness; vegetative state; minimally conscious state; withdrawal of CANH; necessity of legal proceedings; litigation friend
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Law
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
Research Group: Health and Wellbeing PRA (Priority Research Area)
Item ID: 53057
Depositing User: Stephanie Pywell
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2018 11:01
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 11:15
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