Those wanting to bring mental health claims must now not only prove that their case is arguable, but also that it has a real chance of success, says David Hewitt

Anyone who claims to be the victim of acts performed under the Mental Health Act and wants to claim damages will now face a more difficult task. That is the result of an interlocutory decision in Johnston v The Chief Constable of Merseyside Police [2009] EWHC 2969 (QB), which concerned a proposed claim by a man who had been apprehended by the police.

In January 2006, Mr Johnston, who has a history of mental health problems, was at a property on Merseyside. An occupier of the property became concerned about his behaviour and summoned an ambulance. In accordance with usual practice, the police attended as well. Mr Johnston acknowledged that he had needed medical help, but said he had not wanted the police to be called.

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