S47/49 Tribunal

A tribunal have declined to state that patient is ready for discharge but have recommended that the CMHT access accommodation to which the patient could have overnight leave - (even though the clinical team have said he does not need leave before discharge.) As I understand it the probation officer will take the lead in arranging accommodation so the tribunal are wrong anyway. Also ( of course) it is not practically possible for accommodation to be accessed before discharge because of the wait for the parole boards( currently over a year in another case of mine.) This was made clear to the MHT but they were unmoved. I have appealed a decision like this before on the grounds that the tribunal needed to look at the practicalities of the situation (that the patient would actually have leave prior to discharge )and that has failed. Anyone any ideas as to how to resolve this perennial issue?

My view is that the critical question is the one about the purpose of the overnight stays. If, from the patient/prisoner’s mental health perspective (i.e. nature and degree), leave/overnight stays are necessary to test how he would fare in the community, the MHT are entitled to decide that he meets the s.72(1)(b) criteria are therefore not entitled to the relevant recommendation under s.74. In my experience, panels are sometimes a little more lenient with this, knowing that the reality is that prisoners will not normally receive overnight leave before they have received the s.74 recommendation.

I suppose in your case, I would be scrutinising the written decision to make sure that the panel have properly addressed the issue of necessity of further testing - especially given that you say that the clinical team were not relying on the need for further leave. You may well find that your best avenue is an appeal based on failure to deal with that issue properly.

On the point about who is to arrange leave, he is a restricted patient so strictly speaking it will be a matter for the RC and the SSJ. It makes a lot of sense to involve the probation officer as they will be responsible for accommodation when he is released on license. Of course, the CCG/LA aren’t going to fund overnight leave to a placement at which Probation wouldn’t support him remaining after his PB. Decisions like this require a multi-disciplinary approach (you may need to persuade the probation officer to be actively involved at such an early stage though!) so I would suggest pulling together a s.117 meeting in light of the FTT’s recommendation (whether or not you are appealing)

Yes thanks for that. I think MHT have pretty well sewn up the need for testing as the clinical team were really pushing the envelope with their claim that they would not recommend overnight leave if he was 37/41! My only ground for appeal is possibly the factual error of the MHT ( see new topic) but actually we will just immediately reapply ,as we can, and hope we get a better panel! We have had many s117 meetings and everyone is really on the same page but can’t move in until we get parole board.