Deprivation of liberty in Intensive Care Units

In an important judgment handed down this morning, R (LF) v HM Senior Coroner for Inner South London [2015] EWHC 2990 (Admin), the Divisional Court has addressed the question of the extent to which the ‘acid test’ applies in the ICU setting.   We will have a full report upon the case and the two very dense judgments in our next Chambers newsletter due out in a couple of weeks.   In the interim, it is worth reading paragraphs 76-86 and 151-155, where both judges (in slightly different ways) suggest that the logic of Cheshire West should not be routinely extended to cover the position of patients in ICU so as to find that they are deprived of their liberty.   They also suggest that the approach of asking what would happen if a person sought to remove the patient from the hospital (suggested, inter alia, in the Law Society’s Practical Guide) is not relevant to the question of determining whether the person is objectively deprived of their liberty.

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