When is a person an organisation?

the Reference Guide says
“2.38 The county court may make an order directing that the functions of the
nearest relative are to be exercised by another person, whether or not they
are related to the patient and whether or not they would otherwise be eligible
to be the patient’s nearest relative. ‘Person’ in this context can include a local

Section 6(1) says " An application for the admission of a patient to a hospital (…) shall be sufficient authority for the applicant, or any person authorised by the applicant, to take the patient and convey him(…)"

Can ‘any person’ here be an ambulance company or Trust? Or does an AMHP have to delegate their authority to a specific ‘person’? Or, could an AMHP say (or write) something like ‘I delegate any person employed by X Ambulance Company/Trust to take and convey…’?




I believe you could do that, or else simply authorise the Ambulance Trust/company itself to do the conveyance. That would then cover everyone working on its behalf.

The Interpretation Act 1979 (s5 & Sch1) says that “unless the contrary inrention appears” the word “person” in legislation “includes a body of persons corporate or unincorporate”. So an organisation is a person in statute unless there’s a reason to think Parliament intended otherwise.

In the case of s6 MHA, I’m not aware that’s ever been decided by a court, but I can’t see why it would be in doubt. Elsewhere the Act has no difficulty with the concept of a body corporate detaining people. It also uses “individual” (ie only a natural person) in a few places - eg the s127(2) offence of ill-treating a person subject to your guardianship/care & control can only be committed by an individual (no idea why) - which suggests that if it meant to restrict authorised people in s6 to individuals, it would have done explicitly. Also, an equivalebt concept of authorised people appears in s17(3) in relation to escorted leave - isn’t that routinely used to authorise legal persons (eg organisations that run care homes) to keep people in their custody ?


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