Human Rights and Equality Commission Appears in Mental Health Hospital Detention Case

Commission Exercises Amicus Curiae Role in Court of Appeal

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has today appeared before the Court of Appeal as an amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) in a case concerning the right of a person detained in a psychiatric institution to initiate a review of his detention.

The man at the centre of the case “AB” was initially detained in St. Loman’s Hospital on foot of an admission order. He was automatically entitled to a review of his detention six weeks later, and again after three months. He was then detained based on a renewal order for a period of 12 months with no review of his detention. AB’s lawyers argued before the High Court that there was no provision under the Mental Health Acts to apply to have the Mental Health Tribunal reconvened to conduct a further review of the legality of his detention in circumstances where he was no longer suffering from a mental disorder.

In its May 2017 judgment, the High Court stated that a person detained under the Mental Health Acts for a lengthy period was entitled to challenge the lawfulness of their continued detention at reasonable intervals before a court, citing Article 5(4) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The State appealed the High Court ruling.

The Commission’s functions under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 include that of applying for liberty to appear as an amicus curiae before the superior courts in proceedings that involve, or are concerned with, human rights or equality rights.

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

 “This case focuses on the rights of people detained in psychiatric institutions for lengthy periods of time to challenge the legality of that detention.

“The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is exercising its statutory amicus curiae function in this case due to the significance of the issues involved.”

ENDS/

For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095

bdawson@ihrec.ie

Follow us on twitter @_IHREC

Editor’s Note

The Commission’s written submissions are available at the following link:

AB v Clinical Director of St Loman’s Hospital – March 2018

The amicus curiae function of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

The Commission’s functions under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 include that of applying for liberty to appear as an amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) before the superior courts in proceedings that involve, or are concerned with, the human rights or equality rights of any person.

Section 10 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act sets out the functions of the Commission and Section 10(2)(e) provides that the IHREC shall have a function:

“to apply to the High Court or the Supreme Court for liberty to appear before the High Court or the Supreme Court, as the case may be, as amicus curiae in proceedings before that Court that involve or are concerned with the human rights or equality rights of any person and to appear as such an amicus curiae on foot of such liberty being granted (which liberty each of the said courts is hereby empowered to grant in its absolute discretion).”

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

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