Re F (A Child – guardianship) [2000] 51 BMLR 128 (CA)

Mental health – guardianship – mental impairment – seriously irresponsible conduct

A guardianship order under s7 Mental Health Act 1983 can only be made on the ground of severe mental impairment where there is also abnormal aggression or ‘seriously irresponsible’ conduct. A restrictive interpretation was to be given to the words “seriously irresponsible conduct” in the definition of “mental impairment” under s1(2) of the Act. In this case the desire to return home of a mentally impaired 17 year old, who had been placed on the Child Protection Register for neglect and abuse, could not be said to be seriously irresponsible conduct. She was therefore not amenable to guardianship. Further, until she reached the age of 18, wardship proceedings were the more appropriate route.

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