Human Rights and Equality Commission Granted Liberty to Appear Before Court of Appeal in Mental Health Hospital Detention Case

Commission to Appear as Amicus Curiae in Case

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has today been granted liberty by the Court of Appeal to exercise its amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) function in an important case relating to the right of persons detained in mental health hospitals to challenge orders (‘renewal orders’) authorising their ongoing detention for a period of 12 months.

Lawyers for the individual 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 where his circumstances had changed.

In its judgment delivered on 3 May 2017, the High Court held 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 High Court further decided that the absence under the Mental Health Acts of a mechanism to review the lawfulness of such a detention, other than appealing the Mental Health Tribunal’s decision to the Circuit Court immediately following the renewal order, was incompatible with the State’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights Acts 2003 – 2014.

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

The Commission now joins the case as amicus curiae, and will present submissions on the relevant domestic and international human rights standards for the assistance of the Court.

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

“The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission applied to appear as amicus curiae in this case as it raises important issues involving the decision to detain people in mental health hospitals, and the right of the patient to seek regular review of such decisions.”

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 case is listed for the Court of Appeal as: AB v Clinical Director of St Loman’s Hospital, Health Service Executive, Minister for Health, Attorney General, Ireland, Court of Appeal record no. 2017/344 JR

As the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is now formally involved in the proceedings, we are precluded from making any  further comment as the matter is before the Court of Appeal.

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 Commission 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.

  • Facebook Share Icon
  • Twitter Share Icon