Article 2 and deaths in the community: the sequel

R (Lee) v HM Assistant Coroner for Sunderland [2019] EWHC 3227 (Admin), 12.9.19

Regular readers of our blog will recall this case dealing with the tricky issue of whether Art 2 obligations are engaged when a person dies whilst receiving psychiatric care in the community (see the earlier blog here).

In Lee v HM Assistant Coroner for Sunderland HHJ Raeside QC produced a complex extempore judgement that provided the very simple answer: you need look no further than Lord Dyson’s explanation at paragraph 34 of Rabone, when he analysed the potential engagement of the operational Art 2 duty by reference to the threefold factors of assumed responsibility, vulnerability and risk

However the judge deftly sidestepped answering the question on the particular facts of the case before him and instead remitted the case back to the coroner to decide. HM Assistant Coroner for Sunderland has now had a second bite at the cherry and produced an elegant set of reasons for her finding again that Art 2 was not engaged. Although, as a decision by a coroner, the reasoning has no precedential weight, those reasons attached here are well worth reading for their detailed exposition of the application of Art 2 to inquests and a clear example of how to apply the indicia in Rabone to the facts of a particular case.