News and updates
A belated Happy New Year to everyone, it's been some time since we produced a newsletter but it was a busy 2016 that also coincided with Jakki being seconded part time to the Coma and Disorders of Consciousness Research Centre http://cdoc.org.uk
looking at the role of advocacy within this area. Our newsletter therefore has a focus on recent judgments within the Court of Protection and decision making for those in a vegetative or minimally conscious state.
As many of you will be aware, Jakki was an advocate for Paul Briggs, a police officer who died on 21st January 2017 following a Court of Protection judgment that clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) should be withdrawn in his best interests. Jakki has spoken to several media outlets since the judgment, conveying what was important to Paul including the many conversations he had with his family, friends and colleagues, all of which fed into the decision making by the court.
Paul was involved in a road traffic collision on his way to work on 3rd July 2015 where he sustained multiple injuries included a traumatic brain injury. Paul was left in a minimally conscious state (MCS) and his wife Lindsey (who requested advocacy involvement) alongside his wider family, friends and colleagues were all of the view that Paul would not consent to treatment if he were able to. Equally they were all strongly of the view that Paul would not wish to ever be in 24hr care and as a result, would challenge the Deprivation of Liberty authorisation that was in place, if he could. The application was made by his wife Lindsey Briggs, as Paul's RPR within the DoLS.
To access both judgments (the first one being whether legal aid was applicable in these circumstances) and the second one which considered the issues around treatment.
DoLS judgment: http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWCOP/2016/48.html&query=(12942115)
Withdrawal of treatment judgment: https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/l-briggs-v-p-briggs-others.pdf
CDOC also got permission from Mr Justice Charles to live tweet the proceedings which offered an excellent insight into the process. This has since been reproduced on their website and is available here: https://storify.com/KitzingerCelia/paul-briggs-treatment-withdrawal-case
With the above in mind, Jakki recent wrote a piece for Community Care as part of the work with CDOC that looks at 3 separate cases, all of which that went to the CoP and where Jakki was Ps advocate. It considers the importance of DoLS for those in PVS or MCS and the role of advocates, available here: http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2017/01/27/dols-can-give-voice-people-minimal-consciousness/
Jean Simpson, the mum of Miss S (Jodie) who is briefly discussed in the above has begun a blog that covers the issues she experienced whilst trying to ensure Jodie's voice was heard which is available here: https://jeansimpsonblog.wordpress.com
And in a most recent judgment, shared by Alex Ruck Keene via his website http://www.mentalcapacitylawandpolicy.org.uk/deprivation-of-liberty-in-intensive-care-the-court-of-appeal-decides/
the decision as to whether DoLS should apply in ITU, Alex succinctly summarises 'the headline is that the Court of Appeal has held that there will, in general, be no deprivation of liberty in the context of the delivery of life-saving medical treatment'.
That judgment is available here: R(Ferreira) v HM Senior Coroner for Inner South London & Ors http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2017/31.html&query=(C1/2015/3844)
Within Empowerment Matters, we've made some small changes to the website that include a new section on disorders of consciousness. We hope to expand on this as a further resource, particularly for advocates who may be instructed in these types of cases.
Finally, as announced at the national Court of Protection Practitioners Association (CoPPA) conference towards the end of 2016, a new website has been designed accessible here: http://www.coppagroup.org
The website enables you to become a member of CoPPA online as well as finding out about events and seminars in the CoPPA region closest to you. The next Manchester CoPPA seminar will be held on 9th March, Jakki & Mathieu Culverhouse, associate solicitor at Irwin Mitchell who represented Lindsey Briggs will be talking about the case. Further details to be announced via CoPPA.
With best wishes