Procedural fairness

The common law right to Procedural Fairness in mental health was established in caselaw last year:

R(L) v West London Mental Health NHS Trust

‘The common law duty to act fairly was engaged when a decision was made as to whether to transfer a patient detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 from a medium to a high security hospital. Where the decision was largely a clinically-based decision with a rationing aspect, there was a need for circumspection as to what procedure was required. Absent urgency, a clinical reason precluding notification, or some other reason such as the exposure of other patients or staff to the risk of harm, the “gists” of the letter of reference to the high security hospital by the hospital that wished to transfer the patient and the assessment by the clinician from the high security hospital ought to be provided to the patient and/or hisrepresentative, and the patient should be afforded an opportunity to make written submissions to the decision-making panel.’

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