2015 02 Adult Care

Sunday 1 March 2015

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Bostridge v Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust [2015] EWCA Civ 79, The Chancellor, Christopher Clarke and Vos LJJ: The issue on the appeal was whether the appellant who was unlawfully detained in hospital for some 442 days was entitled to substantial damages instead of the nominal damages awarded by the judge. The appellant, who suffered from schizophrenia, was detained after a responsible clinician purported to recall him to hospital under a community treatment order which was not valid. The First-tier Tribunal reviewed his case twice during his detention deciding on both occasions that his condition required continued detention. When the unlawfulness of his detention came to light he was released and then lawfully readmitted and detained under s 3 MHA 1983. It was an agreed fact that had he been detained lawfully he would have suffered the same unhappiness and distress that he suffered anyway. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. The judge was correct to decide that no substantial damages were necessary to put the appellant in the position that he would have been in had the tort relied on not been committed. He was correct to decide on the basis of Lumba and Kambadzi that the appellant was only entitled to nominal damages. In the circumstances of this case, there were no policy considerations that required a substantial award of damages. Click here for the judgment.

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