Sydney Chawatama represented East London NHS Foundation Trust in an important decision involving the habeus corpus rights of a mental health patient under the Human Rights Act 1998 (TTM v London Borough of Hackney & Ors [2010] EWHC 1349 (Admin) (11 June 2010)).

A man accused of harassing women he did not know failed in his human rights challenge to his detention under the Mental Health Act 1983. Having successfully secured a writ of habeas corpus to release him from a mental health institution, he has lost his initial bid for the High Court to declare that his detention ran contrary to his human rights. He is now appealing the decision.

This case has raised important questions about the extent of the ancient right of habeas corpus (relief from unlawful detention) and its interaction with the far more recent Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 (“ECHR”), as well as the ability of any wronged claimant to recover damages in circumstances where they are wrongly detained.

For a full summary and comment on the judgment, please see the post by Elspeth Wrigley on the UK Human Rights Blog.