Experienced and committed is the best way to described members of this team in what is a complex and sensitive area of law.
This can be seen from the list of significant cases already undertaken. Members of the team have also authored two well-regarded practitioners’ texts in this area: Blackstone’s Guide to the Mental Health Act 2007 (Paul Bowen) and Butterworth’s New Law Guide to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (Aswini Weereratne, Sally Hatfield, Ulele Burnham and Alison Gerry).
The team has a strong public law background, and also regularly acts in claims for damages arising under the Human Rights Act 1998, for example, under articles 2, 3, 5 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and/or the common law. These claims may arise in the context of a death of a mental patient or prisoner with mental health problems, or the detention of incapacitated persons. The team has extensive experience of human rights law and of taking cases to Strasbourg under the European Convention on Human Rights. Team members are often instructed by bodies such as Liberty, Justice and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which act as third party interveners in cases raising important issues of law and practice. Members of the team also sit as judges of the First-Tier Tribunal (Mental Health).
There is a natural overlap between the work of this team and that of other practice teams at Doughty Street. Examples are the Community Care and Health, Public Law and Criminal Teams, amongst others. This enables members to provide specialist representation in a wider context where mental health and capacity issues arise, for example, crime, prisoners, inquests, housing, community care, immigration, professional and clinical negligence, disability discrimination, children with special educational needs, cases involving institutional abuse and homicide inquiries.
Doughty Street has a long and established relationship with the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre (MDAC) based in Budapest, Hungary, through Oliver Lewis, the Centre’s director and an associate tenant. MDAC is an international non-governmental organization based in Budapest, Hungary, which works towards better human rights protection for people with mental health problems and intellectual disabilities across Europe and central Asia. The team is also proud to have as an associate tenant, Professor Jill Peay of the London School of Economics who is at the forefront of research and publication on mental health law, decision-making and the treatment of mentally disordered offenders.
Members of the team are happy to discuss and plan any specific training requirements for organizations or groups.
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