N, Re [2015] EWCOP 76 (19 November 2015)

Posted on Monday, January 11th, 2016

Julie FitzpatrickThis case dealt with the issue of whether it was in the best interests of the patient to receive life sustaining treatment after an application was made pursuant to s.15 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA).

The patient had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 23 years ago and was now profoundly impaired, both physically and cognitively, as a result. She was receiving life sustaining treatment by means of Clinically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration (CANH) through a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube. The patient’s daughter strongly believed that the continuation of this treatment was contrary to her mother’s best interests, and brought an application for the Court’s determination.

In a landmark decision, the Court of Protection concluded that respect for the patient’s dignity and human freedom overwhelmed further prolongation of life, and therefore authorised the withdrawal of the life sustaining treatment.

In respect of the costs of the proceedings, Bury Clinical Commissioning Group was ordered to pay one half of the Official Solicitor (on behalf of the patient)’s costs. There was no order as to the costs between the Applicant and First and Third Respondents, and directions were given for the Applicant to file an application setting out grounds for departure from the usual order (i.e. no order) for costs against Bury Clinical Commissioning Group.

The full judgment can be read here

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