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Mental Capacity Act 2005 Annual Review 2023 Conference

October 12, 2023

Aspire, Leeds

The one-day conference, was held at Aspire, Leeds and is the largest of its kind in the UK. Attracting professionals from across the UK, the conference is aimed at advocates and people working in the field of community care, adult social care and health care, as well as voluntary organisations and charities.

Delegates heard from highly regarded speakers in the field of mental capacity. Opening the conference was His Honour Judge Simon Burrows, who spoke passionately about his own experience with loss of capacity. Speakers included Neil Allen, barrister, who explored how the Mental Capacity Act and Mental Health Act coexist and interface with one another in relation to people who are deprived of their liberty. Hannah Bakshani, barrister, discussed cases where not only the person concerned lacks capacity to conduct proceedings but also others in the case who lack capacity.

The audience were also offered an intellectual double act of Joseph O’Brien KC and Parishil Patel KC. Together they discussed the subject of anticipatory declarations and fluctuating capacity. Tackling the difficult complexities in assessing capacity for sexual relationships was clinical neuropsychologist, Dr. Catriona McIntosh. Speakers also offering crucial insights included Sam Karim KC, looking at the balance between Article 6 and transparency. Consultant neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Janet Grace involved the audience in an interactive session on feigned symptoms and day was rounded off with a Q&A with Joe O'Brien KC.

Last year's event gallery

Save the date

Our next Mental Capacity Act 2005 annual review will take place at Aspire, Leeds on Thursday, 17 October 2024. Further information, including our line-up of speakers, will be released in due course.

Register your interest now by emailing conferences@switalskis.com and be kept up to date on all the latest information and to save the date.

Last year’s feedback

"I enjoyed the conference very much. It was great to catch up with former colleagues, members of the Bar and Judiciary and to make new connections. The speeches were varied, engaging, inspiring and informative. I look forward to attending next year."

“Very interesting, excellent content and speakers, well hosted. The MCA conference is an event that year after year I have looked forward to attending and look forward to next years event."

“Thank you, it was a really friendly and welcoming space which made networking easy and do-able!”

"It was, as is always, excellent and I felt I learned a great deal and benefitted from attending."

"I enjoyed the conference very much. It was great to catch up with former colleagues, members of the Bar and Judiciary and to make new connections. The speeches were varied, engaging, inspiring and informative. I look forward to attending next year."

"Overall very good and informative. Thank you very much for organising, another success."

Conference agenda

08:30 Registration and refreshments

09:15 Alison Kaye and His Honour Judge Simon Burrows

Welcome and introduction

09:40 Neil Allen, Barrister

Making the ineligible intelligible: deprivation of liberty at the MHA 1983 interface

10:15 Dr. Janet Grace, Consultant Neuropsychiatrist

Feigned symptoms in the Courts; models and numbers

10:50 Coffee break

11:10 Hannah Bakshani, Barrister

Next steps when a party other than P lacks capacity to conduct proceedings

11:45 Sam Karim KC

Closed proceedings in the CoP and the balance between Article 6 and transparency

12:20 Lunch

13:40 Joe O'Brien KC and Parishil Patel KC

Fluctuating capacity - longitudinal view or anticipatory declarations

14:50 Coffee break

15:10 Dr. Catriona McIntosh

Complexities in assessing capacity for sexual relationships

15:45 Q&A with Joe O'Brien, KC

16:15 Closing remarks – Alison Kaye

16:30 Close

Speaker biographies

Neil Allen, Barrister, 39 Essex Chambers

Neil is a barrister at 39 Essex Chambers, Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester, and Founder of LPS Law Ltd. With particular interests in human rights, mental health and incapacity law, he has been ranked by the legal profession as a leading barrister in the Court of Protection.

Neil has been involved in many of the leading cases in this field, including Cheshire West, N v ACCG, and Re X, as well as many reported cases in the lower courts which have shaped the law.

He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students, regularly delivers professional training to a variety of audiences which is complemented by his site, www.lpslaw.co.uk.

Hannah Bakshani, Barrister, St John's Buildings

Hannah is a Court of Protection specialist. Hannah joined Chambers as a tenant in October 2022 following the successful completion of her pupillage under the supervision of Joseph O’Brien KC.

Hannah represents all parties, including the protected party (‘P’), statutory bodies and family members. She regularly receives instructions from the Official Solicitor.

Since becoming a tenant, Hannah has established herself as a ‘go to junior’ in the Court of Protection. She already has advocacy experience of contested capacity and final hearings, including fact finding hearings. Hannah has appeared before Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 judges in the full range of health and welfare cases in the Court of Protection.

His Honour, Judge Simon Burrows

Judge Burrows is a Circuit Judge in the Family Court in Lancashire and is authorised to sit as a High Court Judge under s. 9(1) SCA. He is also the Regional Court of Protection Lead Judge for the North West. For 17 years he was a fee paid Judge on the Mental Health Tribunal, including for four years as a member of the CAMHS panel.

He practised at the Bar in Manchester, and in later years specialised in mental health and capacity law, including Court of Protection, mental health tribunals and inquests. He appeared as counsel in a number of significant cases including Cheshire West (for the Official Solicitor from first instance to the Supreme Court), Re X (1 and 2), as well as numerous cases involving serious medical treatment, the inherent jurisdiction, and the interface between the MHA and MCA.

He is the author of the Mental Capacity and Mental Health section in the Civil Court Practice (the Green Book), has contributed to a number of publications on mental health and capacity law and was a practitioner editor of the International Journal of Mental Health and Capacity Law.

Also, before becoming a judge, he was the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Advocacy Focus in Lancashire, and a Trustee of the AFC Fylde Community Foundation.

Dr Janet Grace, Consultant Neuropsychiatrist

Dr Grace works fulltime in private practice. Her work comprises clinical management of the neuropsychiatric sequelae of brain injury and neurological disorders, Tourette's disorder and ADHD. Her non-clinical work includes reports for the Court of Protection, Personal Injury, Clinical Negligence and Criminal cases.

Prior to this Dr Grace was the clinical lead for the neurobehavioural unit at Walkergate Park Hospital, Newcastle. The unit is a highly specialised in-patient ward for people with psychiatric sequelae of acquired brain injury. She subsequently spent 12 months as the lead consultant for the acute neuropsychiatry assessment and treatment unit, and was an out patient consultant for the regional neuropsychiatry service until leaving in August 2016.

Sam Karim KC, Head of the Court of Protection, Kings Chambers

Sam has been a specialist in this area since the advent of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and has been at the forefront of developing case law in this jurisdiction since the implementation of the Act.

In addition to his Court of Protection work, Sam is also a specialist in the following areas:

Sam is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is admitted as a practitioner in the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) Court.

Dr Catriona McIntosh, Clinical Neuropsychologist

Dr McIntosh has specialist expertise in Neuropsychology, providing cognitive assessments, capacity assessments, therapy and rehabilitation to people with acquired brain injury and neurological conditions.

She has experience in working as a Clinical Lead managing complex cases of neurorehabilitation across a range of neurological disorders and across the life span. Her therapeutic specialties are in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, the Neurobehavioral Model and Cognitive interventions.

Joseph O'Brien KC, Head of the Court of Protection, St John's Buildings

For many years Joseph has been recognised as a leader in the field of adult social care and Court of Protection proceedings. He is regularly instructed by local authorities, hospitals, CCGs and other health care providers. Joseph is also instructed by the Official Solicitor and family members.

Since the onset of the argument about what is ‘deprivation of liberty’, Joseph has been at the cutting edge of this jurisprudence. He has appeared in a number of the leading cases and lead in the Supreme Court in the case of P v Cheshire West and Chester Council [2014] UKSC 19.

Parishil Patel KC, 39 Essex Chambers

Parishil Patel KC has a wide ranging public law practice which encompasses:

  • health
  • community care
  • local government (including regulation, audit and standards)
  • telecommunications
  • data protection and confidentiality
  • prisons, immigration
  • public international law
  • incapacity
  • and best interests

He has extensive experience of advising and acting for and against public bodies in judicial review claims (in the High Court). This includes claims brought challenging local and central government policy and involving statutory construction and in proceedings in various Tribunals. He also has extensive experience of arguing ECHR issues in domestic courts and advising on human rights in the policy context.

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