The purpose of this paper is to explain a decision of the Court of Appeal about the duty an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) will sometimes have to consult a patient's nearest relative, and to set that decision in the context of an earlier one.
Each decision is examined in detail and one is compared with the other. Reference is made to the Mental Health Act 1983 Code of Practice.
It will be harder for an AMHP to establish that consultation is not reasonably practicable, and it will be correspondingly easier, in some cases, for a nearest relative to obtain information about a patient or achieve proximity to her.
This is thought to be the first time the two cases have been considered together or in their true context.
The author is grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their diligence, and for their perceptive comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
Hewitt, D. (2015), "Not reasonably practicable: are there now greater opportunities for abuse by a nearest relative?", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 62-70. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAP-06-2014-0021
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