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(1) RICHARD RABONE (IN HIS OWN RIGHT & AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF MELANIE RABONE) (2) GILLIAN RABONE v PENNINE CARE NHS TRUST

The European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.2 imposed an operational obligation on states to protect mentally ill patients who were not detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 where there was a real and immediate risk of suicide.

13 February 2012

The appellant parents (R) appealed against a decision ([2010] EWCA Civ 698, [2011] Q.B. 1019) that the respondent NHS trust (P) did not have a duty under the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.2 to take reasonable steps to protect their mentally ill daughter (M) from the risk of suicide.

M had suffered from depression and had been informally admitted to hospital following a suicide attempt. She was assessed as a high risk of suicide but was allowed two days’ home leave during which she committed suicide. R brought proceedings against P for negligence and breach of art.2. The negligence claim was settled but the High Court held that there had been no duty on the hospital under art.2. The Court of Appeal dismissed R’s appeal. The issues to be determined were (i) whether the art.2 obligation could in principle be owed to a mentally ill hospital patient who was not detained under the Mental Health Act 1983; (ii) if yes, whether there was a “real and immediate” ri...

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