— The tribunal panel refused an adjournment request and proceeded in the patient's absence. (1) The panel found, under rule 39(1)(a) and (b) respectively, that reasonable steps had been taken to notify the patient of the hearing and that it was in the interests of justice to proceed. However, it made no findings, under rule 39(2)(a)(i) and (ii) respectively, in relation to whether the patient had decided not to attend the hearing or was unable to attend for reasons of ill health, and it was not self-evident that either requirement was satisfied. Proceeding in the patient's absence was therefore an error of law. (2) The First-tier Tribunal judge refusing the appeal had used an out-of-date version of the rules (though this did not affect her reasoning) and had misunderstood the rules, confusing rule 39(1)(a) and rule 39(2)(a). (3) The Upper Tribunal concluded: "A tribunal must always operate within its rules of procedure and that is particularly important when liberty is at stake. This is why I have dealt not only with the tribunal’s reasoning but also with the reasoning in the refusal of permission."
Full details available at: https://www.mentalhealthlaw.co.uk/PC_v_Cornwall_Partnership_NHS_Foundation_Trust_(2023)_UKUT_64_(AAC)?id=220323-1455