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Mathieu Culverhouse

Senior Associate


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 & Human Rights department’s Court of Protection special interest group.

Market View:

Mathieu is "very approachable, very thorough and an excellent solicitor." – Chambers & Partners, 2017

"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

"Highly recommended." –Legal 500 2014

"Calm and efficient." - Legal 500 2013

Notable cases include:

  • Briggs v Briggs [2016] EWCOP 53 – in which the Court of Protection ruled in favour of withdrawal of life sustaining treatment from Mr Briggs, who was in a minimally conscious state.
  • Briggs v Briggs [2016] EWCOP 48 – in which the Court of Protection held that it is possible for the question of whether it is a person’s best interests to continue to be given life sustaining treatment to be determined in proceedings brought under s.21A MCA 2005, thus allowing Mr Briggs’ wife to have access to non-means tested legal aid.
  • M v Press Association [2016] EWCOP 34 – an application to extend indefinitely a reporting restriction order following the death of the person concerned.
  • 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 Supreme Court judgment had a very significant impact on the field of adult social care and provided clarification of the legal definition of ‘deprivation of liberty’, resulting in thousands of vulnerable adults benefiting from reviews of their protective care arrangements.
  • 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 – an end of life case 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

  • 26/09/2017
    Specialist Lawyers Irwin Mitchell Instructed To Take Up Fight To Save Home That Cares For Severely Disabled Children

    “The Grange provides a vital lifeline for the children and their parents. The upheaval of forcing the children to move to a new home suitable to treat their complex needs will have a massive impact on their lives. “The parents have asked the council not to disrupt their children’s care arrangements. “We argue that the Council failed to carry out a proper public consultation into the proposals, has not conducted a full assessment of how children will be affected and has failed to identify appropriate homes, within or outside Salford, where children could be sent. “We have now written to the council urging it to reconsider its decision or potentially face a judicial review into the decision in the High Court.”

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  • 31/07/2017
    Court Of Appeal’s Legal Aid Decision Could Make It ‘Impossible’ For Many To Gain Justice

    “Our client was reliant on legal aid in order to ensure that her husband’s wishes were respected, but today’s ruling means that many other families in a similar position will not be able to get access to that same level of support. “We see numerous cases in which people earn too much to qualify for legal aid under the government’s means test for legal aid, but are also not wealthy enough to pay for representation themselves. “Those who fall into this ‘squeezed middle’ are now likely to find it impossible to secure access to justice unless they are able to find a lawyer who is willing to work for free in what are inevitably lengthy and complicated legal proceedings. “I am very concerned that the effect of this decision will be to restrict access to justice for families involved in these most difficult of cases, where the rulings made are literally a matter of life and death. I would urge the government to take urgent steps to reform the legal aid system to ensure a fair system in which families are able to argue their cases on a level playing field.”

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  • 01/02/2017
    Victory For Campaigners As Council Withdraws Proposals Following Legal Challenge

    “This is a victory for all those who would have been unfairly affected by the changes that Rochdale Council was proposing. “The families of those affected are happy that the Council has withdrawn its proposals and has confirmed that before proceeding with any such proposals in future it will engage with those affected and ensure that they are given a full and fair picture of what the proposals will mean for them in practice.”

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  • 20/12/2016
    Court Rules Police Officer’s Treatment Can Be Withdrawn

    “The time since Paul’s collision has been extremely difficult for Lindsey and Paul’s family and from the outset they have wanted to ensure that his wishes are respected. They firmly believe that continuing treatment is not in Paul’s best interests given his previously expressed wishes, his injuries and his current condition and prognosis. “After considering all of the evidence, hearing from medical experts and the clear and powerful evidence from the family, the judge agreed that treatment could lawfully be withdrawn. The judge made this decision after taking into account recent guidance from the Supreme Court. He weighed up the competing principles of the very strong presumption in favour of preserving life and the need to respect what Mr Briggs himself would have decided if he was able to do so. “In his judgment, the judge stated: “I am sure that if Mr Briggs had been sitting in my chair and heard all the evidence and argument he would … not have consented to further … treatment”. The judge concluded by saying that “this means that the court is doing on behalf of Mr Briggs what he would have wanted and what he would have done for himself … if he was able to do so.” “The family is disappointed that the decision is to be appealed, which will prolong their situation at such a difficult time of year. “The next few weeks will obviously be very difficult for Lindsey and the family and we will continue to support them at this sensitive time. They can at least have some comfort in knowing that the Court at this stage has agreed that this course of action is in Mr Briggs’ best interests. We will now await the Court’s decision on whether permission to appeal will be granted.”

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