Re AB [2016] EWCOP 66

This case concerns the decision of the Court of Protection to approve deceiving a person lacking mental capacity in order to administer her medication.

AB was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 2000, when she began to suffer from a serious psychoaffective disorder. AB became delusional and believed that she was no longer HIV-positive and was merely appearing in a film about HIV. She became vehemently opposed to further HIV treatment. Her psychiatric condition meant that she lacked capacity under the terms of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in relation to the decision whether to engage in anti-retroviral treatment.

The Honourable Mr. Justice Mostyn had to decide on AB’s behalf what was in her best interests and, under Section 4(6)(a) of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, consider her past and present wishes and feelings. The judge found that her past wishes, up to 2008, were to receive treatment, whereas her present wishes were strongly opposed to it.

The judge concluded that virtually no weight should be given to AB’s present wishes and feelings, and that considerable weight should be given to her past wishes. He therefore authorised a course of action which ensured that AB, in her best interests, received the treatment that would likely save her life, even though the course of medication would involve deception.

The full judgment can be read here.

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