• The inherent jurisdiction of the High Court is known as “the great safety net” for vulnerable adults; but when can it be used and what can it do?

    In this session, Katie Scott from 39 Essex chambers considered:

    • what is the inherent jurisdiction?
    • what does “vulnerable” mean in this context?
      • is “vulnerability” limited to where an adult is subject to the undue influence, coercion or control of a third person, or can an adult be inherently vulnerable, for example by virtue of their own health condition(s)?
      • what amounts to undue influence, coercion or control?
    • what decisions can be made under the inherent jurisdiction for vulnerable adults?
      • can the vulnerable adult be directed to do, or not do, something?
      • can a person be deprived of their liberty under the inherent jurisdiction?
    • when should a case be brought before the Court by a commissioner or a provider, for orders under the Inherent Jurisdiction?
      • what orders can be obtained?
      • what evidence is required?
      • what are the advantages and disadvantages of invoking the inherent jurisdiction rather than the Mental Capacity Act 2005?
    • key guidance from the case law.

    Katie specialises in welfare, treatment and human rights matters and is also an accredited mediator.

    During her presentation, Katie referred to an article co-authored by her Chambers’ colleague Alex Ruck Keene KC (Hons). It is called “Interpersonal influences on decision-making capacity: a content analysis of court judgments” and is published in the Oxford Academic Medical Law Review. We have included a link to the article here.


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