DCC v NLH (by his litigation friend, the Official Solicitor)

Mental Health – Vulnerable persons. Practitioners, carers and those involved in taking samples from vulnerable persons in such circumstances should be reminded that, where the patient lacked capacity and an application had been made to the Court of Protection for an order authorising the taking of a sample, it would be unlawful for the sample to be taken without the court's permission. Any infringement, in future, would run the risk, not only of attracting severe criticism from the court, but also potentially incurring liability for damages if a breach of human rights were to be established. However, on the particular facts of the present case, the Court of Protection retrospectively authorised the taking of a DNA sample from a vulnerable man (N), who was in the late stages of a degenerative neurological condition, in circumstances where the application, seeking authorisation, had been before the court, where the sample had been taken in the context of an earlier order by another Family Court judge, and where no injustice or harm had been caused to N.

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