The legal challenge to give the same safeguards to people with
mental illness or learning difficulties who are informally detained
as those who are sectioned has reached the European Court of Human
The carers of a man known as Mr L argued that his treatment
contravened articles three and five of the Human Rights Act 1998.
Mr L, who has severe learning difficulties, was informally detained
in hospital by the Bournewood Community and Mental Health NHS
Trust, after an outburst at a shopping centre.
But he was not discharged for four months, leading to complaints
that he should not have been admitted and should have been released
to his carers earlier.
A verdict is expected this month.