Ian Wise QC and Stephen Broach speak at Justice Annual Conference on ‘Disability and Human Rights’

20 Oct 2014

Ian Wise QC and Stephen Broach speak at Justice Annual Human Rights Conference 2014 on 20 October 2014.  Speaking on ‘Disability and Human Rights’ Ian Wise QC and Stephen Broach will examine three recent key judgment of the Supreme Court that they have both been involved in. 

The first of these, Aintree University Hospital v James [2014] AC 591, concerned the correct approach of the courts in deciding whether it was in the best interests of a critically ill man to withhold life-saving treatment.  In a landmark judgment the Supreme Court found that the Court of Appeal had been wrong to place the threshold for such treatment too low.

In the second case, R(McDonald) v Kensington & Chelsea RLBC [2011] PTSR 1266, the Supreme Court controversially found that there to have been no breach of Ms McDonald’s article 8 ECHR rights where the local authority refused to continue to provide her with support to access the toilet, instead finding that her needs could be met by providing her with incontinence pads.  This decision was in part rejected by the European Court of Human Rights (McDonald v UK) which found a breach of article 8 for the period when the local authority had a care plan in place to provide Ms McDonald with access to the toilet. 

The third judgment of the Supreme Court that Ian and Steve will be examining is that of Surrey CC v P and Cheshire West  v P [2014] AC 896, which gave guidance on the circumstances when the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) found in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 are to be applied, the court finding that article 5 ECHR required the safeguards to be applied far more generally for disabled people who lack capacity and are not free to leave their place of confinement at will than had been found to be the case by the Court of Appeal. 

Speaking in advance of the conference Ian Wise QC said “these important cases show how vitally important human rights protections are for disabled and vulnerable people and how necessary they are to ensure that they are treated with the dignity and respect.”