Wrexham lawyer assists in setting legal precedent after overturning local health board decision

A Wrexham lawyer is at the centre of a legal precedent set in the recent judgment of a mental health case brought before the Upper Tribunal.

Natalie Roberts, a Partner with leading North Wales and Shropshire law firm, GHP Legal, assisted her client, PJ, to appeal to the Upper Tribunal after the Mental Health Review Tribunal for Wales refused his application in March 2014 to discharge his Community Treatment Order (CTO).

Despite the fact that PJ was no longer being detained in hospital for treatment he was still subject to stringent conditions such as being required to live at a care home and abide by a strict regime which included 15 minute observations and restrictions on leave to visit his family.

With the assistance of Miss Roberts, PJ sought discharge of the CTO before the Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT) for Wales on the basis that the arrangements for his care under the CTO amounted to an unlawful deprivation of liberty in breach of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The MHRT however refused discharge and PJ subsequently appealed that decision to the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber).

Charles J, sitting as President of the Upper Tribunal, found that the MHRT for Wales had erred in law, firstly in its application of the Supreme Court decision in Cheshire West and consequently concluding that PJ was not deprived of his liberty and, secondly, in concluding that the CTO framework must take precedence over any human rights issues.

Speaking after the Upper Tribunal judgment Natalie Roberts said: “I am delighted with the outcome of my client’s appeal. This is an important judgment which could have a significant bearing on the futures of mental health clients everywhere, especially those on community treatment orders and those who are being deprived of their liberty.”