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Court Rules On Living Will

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The Court of Protection has ruled on a case involving a ‘Living Will’ or ‘Advance Directive’ following an urgent 2 day hearing. A man suffering from motor neurone disease was able to communicate only through eye movements. It was in this way that he had made an advance decision under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to stop ventilation and artificial feeding when he lost mental capacity. The decision was witnessed and recorded.

Mrs Justice Theis ruled that in this case the advance decision was valid. The judge emphasised that the terms of advance decisions had to be clear and that ‘templates’ for advance directives might be reviewed in the light of this decision. It was also stressed that where there are concerns they should be investigated promptly so that the Court of Protection could deal with the case.

Mark Mullins of Outer Temple Chambers represented the wife and family.