Northern Ireland moves closer to implementing deprivation of liberty legislation


Michael Potter has successfully represented a challenge to the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust’s use of guardianship under the Mental Health (NI) Order 1986 to restrict and control the right of the Appellant, a person with a disability,   to leave his place of residence for incidental, social or other  purposes.

In a short decision in JMcA [12/5/14] , the Court of Appeal: 

(a) acknowledged the applicability of the recent Supreme Court decision P and other  v Cheshire West and Chester Council [2014] UKSC 19;

(b)  clarified the boundaries of a guardian’s power under the 1986 Order; and,

(c)recognised that a gap exists in Northern Ireland  legislation as a result of developments in ECHR jurisprudence, thereby recommending the implementation of legislation in Northern Ireland that is similar to deprivation of liberty (or DOLs) legislation in England and Wales, as contained in the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

The full judgment is set out here.