Mathieu Culverhouse



I specialise in community care, patient rights and mental capacity law. I act for clients who have ongoing difficulties with social services, the NHS and other public bodies. I have brought judicial review cases on behalf of children and adults seeking appropriate care from their local social services and the NHS.
I also act for clients opposing the closure care homes, day centres and NHS services and seeking to challenge cuts to government funding in health and social care. I have acted for disabled refugees, securing accommodation for them from local authorities under their community care duties.

I advise clients in relation to their rights to healthcare, medical treatment and other clinical disputes. These cases often raise issues of medical ethics and legal arguments relating to ‘dignity’, the ‘right to life’ or the ‘right to healthcare’.

I also act for the Official Solicitor, Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (‘IMCAs’) and for the families of vulnerable adults in cases in the Court of Protection under the Mental Capacity Act relating to their mental capacity, deprivation of liberty, health and welfare. I am a founder and national committee member of the Court of Protection Practitioners Association (‘CoPPA’) and within Irwin Mitchell I lead the public law department’s Court of Protection special interest group.

"He is a careful lawyer who makes sure of his grounds before going into battle and shaves off the poor parts of a case." - Chambers & Partners 2016

"a very measured and intellectual lawyer who ensures that cases are well represented." - Chambers & Partners 2015

"He is a safe pair of hands. He goes the extra mile for the client." - Chambers & Partners 2014

"An obvious rising star." and "He has a very good knowledge of the issues and was very helpful in guiding us to where our interventions could have value." - Chambers & Partners 2013

"Highly recommended." - Legal 500 2014

"Calm and efficient." - Legal 500 2013

Notable cases include:

  • Re N [2015] EWCOP 76 – this landmark judgment was the first case in which the court made an order authorising the withdrawal of life sustaining treatment from a person who was considered to be in a “minimally conscious state”.
  • P v Cheshire West and Chester Council and another [2014] UKSC 19 – Known as the ‘Cheshire West case’, this judgment was greatly anticipated by those working in the field of community care. The ruling provides much needed clarification of the legal definition of ‘deprivation of liberty’ and has resulted in thousands of vulnerable adults benefiting from reviews of their protective care arrangements under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (‘DoLS’) regime.
  • An NHS Foundation Trust v R (Child) & Ors [2013] EWHC 2340 (Fam) –This extremely sensitive case arose from an NHS Trust’s application seeking court approval for the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from a 14-month-old child.
  • C v A Local Authority [2011] EWHC 1539 (Admin) which related to the treatment of an 18-year-old man with severe autism and severe learning disabilities at a residential special school. The court found that the responsible local authority had breached the man’s human rights by using a seclusion room known as a ‘blue room’ and failing to follow the appropriate guidance.
  • G v E [2010] EWCA Civ 822 in which the Court of Appeal ruled that there is no threshold test for deprivation of liberty separate from the best interests assessment under the Mental Capacity Act.
  • G v E, A Local Authority & F [2010] EWHC 621 (Fam) in which the Court of Protection ruled that a local authority had breached a vulnerable adult's human rights by removing him from his carer without first seeking an order from the court.
  • R (Murphy) v Salford Primary Care Trust [2008] EWHC 1908 (Admin) in which the Court set aside a decision to refuse funding for life-sustaining drugs on the basis that although the PCT panel had looked at all the individual factors that could point to an exceptional case it had failed to look at them in the round.
  • A PCT v SA  [2005] EWCA Civ 1145 in which the Court of Appeal held that the judge at first instance had been entitled to reject evidence of the family’s expert that the patient had a realistic prospect of recovery.


Deprivation of liberty safeguards: Assessment and authorization - Yogi Amin and Mathieu Culverhouse - British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing Jun 2010

Legal reflections on the human rights of restraint reduction – Sam Karim and Mathieu Culverhouse – A human rights perspective on reducing restrictive practices in intellectual disability and autism, BILD Publications 2014

Cheshire West: A Year Later – Mathieu Culverhouse and Saoirse de Bont – International Journal of Positive Behavioural Support, Spring 2015

Read My Comments On The Latest News

  • 28/11/2016
    Court To Decide Whether To Withdraw Treatment From Policeman

    “The time since Paul’s accident has been extremely difficult for Lindsey and Paul’s family and Lindsey just wants what is best for him. She firmly believes that the withdrawal of treatment is in Paul’s best interests given his previously expressed wishes, his injuries and his current condition and prognosis. “We will continue to support Lindsey through the legal process as she continues to fight for Paul’s wishes and feelings to be respected and we will be asking the Court of Protection this week for treatment to be withdrawn based on all the available evidence Lindsey has received.”

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  • 27/10/2016
    Rochdale Council Extends Consultation On Supporting Living Cuts After Threat Of Legal Action

    “Our clients believed the proposal for the remodelling of supported living accommodation by Rochdale Council were in breach of the Council’s statutory duties. “We are glad the council has extended the consultation date and taken steps to ensure an easy read version of the consultation is published by 2 November, which will enable those vulnerable people potentially impacted by the proposed changes to contribute to the debate and raise the very serious concerns they have about the local authority’s proposals. "However, there remain concerns that the information published to date by the Council fails to provide service users and their families with sufficient information and we will be reviewing the position in light of the new documents to be published by the Council.”

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  • 22/07/2016
    Oldham Council Withdraws Approved Broker List After Threat Of Legal Action

    “We believed the decision taken by Oldham Council to implement an approved list and to refuse to fund services offered by companies not on the list was in breach of the Care Act 2014. “The Care Act is very clear that people are, as far as possible, to be given their own choice on how they have their needs met and by having closed lists of approved providers this choice was effectively removed. “Our client is pleased the council has decided to scrap the approved list. The Council will now inform those in receipt of direct payments of their freedom to choose brokers they feel will meet their individual needs.”

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  • 16/03/2016
    Brian Hore Unit could receive stay of execution while case for judicial review surrounding closure is considered

    “We believe the consultation process undertaken by the local council focused on redesigning drug and alcohol services in Manchester and did not indicate changes would result in the closure of the Brian Hore Unit. The users of services at the unit were not consulted at all about the possible closure of the unit. “We wrote to Manchester City Council in February to outline our concerns with the way the decision to close the unit was taken, as well as outlining our plans to take steps to issue judicial review proceedings to challenge the decision. “The council replied to our letter, denying that it had acted unlawfully. We have now formally applied to the High Court for that review, citing the council’s failure to consult with service users or provide them with any opportunity to make representations about the closure of the BHU.”

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