Defective hospital order

I have been provided with a copy of a s37/41 which is incomplete and appears to have been amended. (It states that the offence was ‘assault on an emergency’ and the remaining words appear to have been removed. Also it appears to have been creased before it was copied making some parts illegible.) This is the only copy which the hospital have and the MoJ are not replying to my emails. I know that there is case law which says that the hospital managers can take a hospital order at face value but my client is quite paranoid and would be perturbed by what appears to be a doctored copy- (I have not drawn his attention to it because of this.) I sought a direction from MHT that the MoJ produce a legible copy but this was refused on basis it does not determine lawfulness of detention and also that the MoJ would only have the illegible copy in any event. (Fair enough I suppose.) But it did start me wondering as to what is the purpose of us getting hold of hospital orders when they can be taken at face value and how bad the defect would need to be before it would be considered not to provide authority to detain. ( I am, of course, writing to the court seeking a legible copy.)

Hi Karen

I had a issue like this before, paperwork was illegable I contact the MoJ (I actully rang rather than send an email) gave them the reference number in relation to the patient, and I was sent a copy of the Hosptail order over that week.

The copy sent to me was clear and was what i needed, I marked that order as a true copy of the original and the date received


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Thanks Emma
I can never seem to get through to the case worker on the phone. Is that who you rang or did you get through on the general number?

Hi Karen,

As far as I recall, there is no individual caseworker (as opposed to how you used to call a particular number depending on the first letter of the surname) but rather anyone will pick up any one of the phone numbers listed on the MHCS contact website (I confirmed that by visiting HMPPS Mental Health Casework Section contact list - GOV.UK).

If I have something that I want dealt with quickly I usually just call one of the numbers.

Good luck!


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I vaguely remember hearing of one case in which the patient was adamant that the judge had not imposed a restriction order alongside the hospital order and that the documentation was wrong. Initially the patient was regarded as wrong, even delusional, but eventually a solicitor investigated and it transpired that he was right and the court clerk had made a mistake. I can’t remember hearing what happened next though.

That was a case of Peter Edwards, and the s.41 restriction was then removed when it we shown to be in error, I believe.

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It might well be three different but similar events, because I’ve heard two other people tell the same story over the years. I wonder how the newfound unrestricted hospital order is treated. As it had never been renewed, maybe it had already lapsed? Or maybe could it be treated as if it had always been renewed? Or even as beginning afresh, e.g. when the court amends the order? What about tribunal eligibility periods and applying within the first six months?