If you are a lawyer in England & Wales and need a reason to join the indefatigable charity INQUEST, the members-only seminar for the INQUEST Lawyers Group being held on 6 December is undoubtedly it. The seminar will be held from 6-7:30, online, and will be chaired by Anita Sharma, Head of Casework at INQUEST, and Daniel Lemberger Cooper, solicitor at Imran Khan and Partners, alongside experienced practitioners on this issue:
- Deborah Coles, Executive Director of INQUEST
- Jenni Richards KC, 39 Essex Chambers, who acted for Melanie Rabone’s family in the Supreme Court.
- Paul Clark, Garden Court Chambers, who acted in the recent case of Morahan before the Court of Appeal.
- Charlotte Haworth Hird, Partner at Bhatt Murphy, specialising in mental health, learning disability and other state related inquests.
The Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Rabone v Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust  UKSC 2 was handed down in February 2012, just over 10 years ago.
In the context of the self-inflicted death of an informal or non-detained psychiatric patient, the Court decided that the Trust owed Melanie Rabone an operational duty to take reasonable steps to protect her from a real and immediate risk of suicide.
It was expected, following Rabone, that the Supreme Court’s decision would result in an expansion of the circumstances in which the operational duty was held to exist, beyond detention settings. Indeed Lord Dyson finished his concluding observations in the following terms: “it seems to me that the court has been tending to expand the categories of circumstances in which the operational duty will be found to exist.” (Paragraph 25).
This event has been organised to bring practitioners together to explore and discuss the seminal decision, whether and how the law has developed, what it means for clients and their families, and the broader state of justice and accountability for those that die in the care of the state, particularly vulnerable adults and children.
These discussions are particularly timely as there has been growing political opinion from the government that human rights laws have “gone too far”, and which seek to roll back the positive obligations that have developed.
Judgment was recently handed down from the Court of Appeal in Morahan v HM Assistant Coroner for West London & ors, and the Supreme Court will hear an appeal in Maguire v HM Senior Coroner for Blackpool and Fylde on 22-23 November.
To book, see here.