The Mental Health Act 1983, a year in review

Thursday 18 January 2024, 6pm-7:30pm

Chambers & Online

The Garden Court Mental Health Law Team presented a round-up of the key developments in mental health law from 2023.

Date: Thursday 18 January 2024
Time: 6pm-7:30pm, followed by drinks & networking
Venue: Chambers & Online  
Areas of Law: Mental Health Law , Civil Liberties and Human Rights , Court of Protection

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  • Case law update:
    • Upper Tribunal 
    • Senior Courts
  • High Court’s decision in Derbyshire NHS Foundation Trust v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, PQR, MIND and NHS England, and its implications for mental health patients
  • State of play with reform of the Mental Health Act 1983
  • A view from the bench on developments in practice and procedure


Helen Curtis, Garden Court Chambers (Chair)
Helen's mental health work covers restricted patients whether being transferred between hospital and prison or seeking discharge as well as patients detained under Section 2 and 3. Additionally, Helen represents patients or their Nearest Relative in proceedings where displacement of the Nearest Relative is sought.

Stephen Simblet KC, Garden Court Chambers
Stephen conducts complex hearings before what used to be called the Mental Health Review Tribunal, along with associated judicial review and habeas corpus. These hearings involve restricted patients and those with so-called "dangerous severe personality disorder" in Rampton, Broadmoor and other special hospitals. He is also an expert in damages claims arising out of psychiatric detention. He is an editor of the Community Care Law Reports. Since taking silk, he has represented a number of agencies intervening in important cases, including Mind (the Mental Health charity) and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. 

Roger Pezzani, Garden Court Chambers
Roger practices exclusively in mental health law. He represents and advises at all levels, from the First-tier Tribunal to the appellate courts and tribunals.

Ollie Persey, Garden Court Chambers
Ollie has a growing mental health law practice. He welcomes instructions in a broad range of mental health matters, including appeals to the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal, applications for habeas corpus and applications to displace nearest relatives. He is acting in a test case in the Administrative Court concerning the statutory construction of the term ‘examine’ in the Mental Health Act 1983 in the context of renewals of Community Treatment Orders. The Court has been invited to provide guidance on whether remote assessments are lawful or whether to ‘examine’ requires an in-person assessment. Due to his expertise in Court of Protection matters, he is well-placed to act in cases raising mental capacity issues. He has significant expertise in child and adolescent mental healthcare and draws upon his background in special educational needs and disability law to provide holistic and practical advice.

Alex Schymyck, Garden Court Chambers
Alex regularly appears before the First Tier Tribunal in applications for discharge, before the County Court in Nearest Relative (NR) displacement applications and provides advice regarding civil claims concerning unlawful detention under the Mental Health Act 1983. Alex also has experience in appeals before the Upper Tribunal.

Rheian Davies, Head of Legal, MIND
Rheian spent 15 years working as a psychiatric nurse before qualifying as a Solicitor in 2006.  In private practice Rheian has conducted many ground-breaking mental health cases with Garden Court Barristers, winning Legal Aid Lawyer of the year for her work in Mental Health Law.  Rheian currently heads up the legal team at MIND, the UK’s largest Mental Health Charity.

Deborah Robinson, Consultant Solicitor, Cartwright King
Deborah has been a specialist in mental health law since 2016, qualifying as a solicitor in 2017 and has been a member of the Law Society’s Mental Health Accreditation Scheme since 2018. Now exclusively practicing in mental health law, Deborah represents patients both in the community and in hospital who are detained or restricted under both Parts II and III of The Mental Health Act. She challenges doctors and Responsible Authorities in respect of their decision making and compliance with primary legislation and the Mental Health Act Code of Practice. Deborah is committed to ensuring those deprived of their liberty are fairly treated and have their rights protected and is determined to ensure that their detention and treatment is lawful while supporting them to exercise their legal rights.

Julia Krish, Garden Court Chambers Associate Member & Mental Health Tribunal Judge
Julia is a Door Tenant at Garden Court. She has been sitting as a part-time Judge in the Mental Health Tribunal for 20 years. She is a former member of the Chambers Crime Team. When she was in practice, her particular interest and expertise was the representation of mentally disordered offenders, about which she has written and lectured extensively. Since 2018 she has also been sitting as a part-time Judge in the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal.

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