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Mathieu Culverhouse

Senior Associate Solicitor

Biography

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.

Testimonials:

"He is a really sound, really good lawyer who is good to work with." - Chambers & Partners, 2018

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

"Singled out for his 'impressively calm manner'" - Legal 500, 2017

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

"Highly recommended." –Legal 500 2014

Notable cases include:

  • An NHS Trust v S & L (A Child) (Withholding Life Sustaining Invasive Treatment) [2017] EWHC 3619 (Fam) – in which Mr Justice Williams ruled that it was in the best interests of a seriously ill two-year-old child with a rare genetic syndrome to receive ventilation and CPR in some circumstances.
  • Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust v Mrs P & Anor [2017] EWCOP 23 – in which the Court of Protection ruled that withdrawing life-sustaining treatment in the best interests of Mrs P, who was in a minimally conscious state.
  • Director of Legal Aid Casework & Ors v Briggs [2017] EWCA Civ 1169 – in which the Court of Appeal ruled that it is not appropriate for an application concerning serious medical treatment to be brought under s21A of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and at the same time commented that it was not necessary for such cases to be brought to court where all parties are in agreement.
  • Briggs v Briggs [2016] EWCOP 53 – this high profile case concerned the medical treatment of Paul Briggs, a police officer who was considered to be in a minimally conscious state after suffering a severe brain injury in a road traffic collision. The Court of Protection ruled in favour of withdrawal of life sustaining treatment from Mr Briggs.
  • 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’. Thousands of vulnerable adults have since benefited 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 Primary Care Trust 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 from the family’s expert that the patient had a realistic prospect of recovery.

Publications

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

  • 21/03/2018
    Specialist Lawyers Irwin Mitchell Instructed To Take Up Fight To Save Village GP Surgery

    “We have been instructed by Hightown Parish Council to act on their behalf as they look to challenge the decision taken by NHS England to close the Hightown Village Surgery. “We believe that the decision taken by NHS England, and the manner in which it was made, was inadequate with it failing to comply with numerous sections of the National Health Service Act 2006 and also with NHS England’s consultation duties. “Although ‘listening events’ were held over the future of the surgery in April 2017, NHS England were keen to emphasise at the time that the exercise did not constitute a formal consultation. “We have now written to NHS England urging it to reconsider its decision or potentially face a judicial review into the decision in the High Court.”

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  • 19/03/2018
    Lawyers Issue Judicial Review Application As Tetraplegic Man’s Discharge From Hospital Continues To Be Delayed

    “We have been instructed to act on behalf of Mr Denderowicz and we hope that we can help him to be discharged from hospital, with the appropriate provision being put in place for his care at his family home. “We believe the hospital is an unsuitable environment for our client in the current circumstances, where he has been deemed medically fit for discharge. “A prolonged stay in hospital only puts our client at greater risk of hospital–acquired infection, which for someone in Mr Denderowicz’s health condition, could be extremely dangerous.”

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  • 03/11/2017
    Lawyers Issue Judicial Review Application In 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 the current residents will be affected and has failed to identify appropriate homes, within or outside Salford, where children could be sent. “We had previously written to the council urging it to reconsider its decision or potentially face a judicial review into the decision in the High Court. “Unfortunately the council has not shown that it’s willing to reconsider its decision, and so we have issued our application for a judicial review.”

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  • 30/10/2017
    Court Approves Withdrawal Of Treatment In End Of Life Case

    “In these highly sensitive cases, there are no winners or losers. The court’s task is to review all the available evidence, in particular the evidence of those who were closest to the person concerned, in order to reach a clear view as to who the person was and what they would have wanted, before making a decision about what is in their best interests. "In this case, after hearing all the evidence presented to the court by the family and medical experts, the judge has decided that that withdrawing the life sustaining treatment is in my client’s mother’s best interests given her current quality of life and her previously expressed wishes and feelings. The patient’s human rights are always fully considered in such cases. “Whilst the court has dealt with the case very sensitively, my client and her sister have found it distressing and painful to have to go to court to fight for their mother’s wishes to be respected, and they hope that in future a different way can be found to resolve cases such as this, so that other families do not have to go through the same ordeal.”

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