With thanks, as ever, to the eagle-eyed Lucy Series for bringing this to my attention, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has very recently issued a statement on Article 14, “unpacking” the jurisprudence on this article (providing for the right to liberty and security of the person). The statement is uncompromising in tone, emphasising the “absolute prohibition of detention on the basis of disability” and makes it clear that when it starts its scrutiny of the United Kingdom’s compliance with the CRPD, it is very likely indeed that it will find that the MHA 1983 to be problematic. As the Committee note:
“There are still practices in which state parties allow for the deprivation of liberty on the grounds of actual or perceived disability. In this regard the Committee has established that article 14 does not permit any exceptions whereby persons may be detained on the grounds of their actual or perceived disability. However, legislation of several states party, including mental health laws, still provide instances in which persons may be detained on the grounds of their actual or perceived disability, provided there are other reasons for their detention, including that they are dangerous to themselves or to others. This practice is incompatible with article 14 as interpreted by the jurisprudence of the CRPD committee.”
Although I understand that the process of scrutiny of the UK by the Committee has been delayed, this statement only suggests to me that the dialogue when it comes will be frosty and, on the part of the Government (and of the various constituent parts of the UK) will not proceed on the basis of an uncritical acceptance that the “jurisprudence” of the Committee is of the equivalent status to the jurisprudence of a domestic or international court.