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First instance of the Operation of the new Lunacy Act

Extract

We record with sincere, although not with unmixed satisfaction, the action of “Toogood v. Wilkes,” in the Queen's Bench Division. The plaintiff, Mr. William Toogood, of Southampton, had brought an action against Mr. W. D. Wilkes, a medical practitioner of Salisbury, to recover damages for “injury to the plaintiff from the defendant's negligence, as a medical man, and for damages for injury to the plaintiff by reason of the defendant having negligently and wrongfully signed a certificate of the plaintiff's insanity, whereby he was detained in a lunatic asylum.” The defendant's solicitor (Mr. George Smith), acting under the 12th section of the new Act (52 and 53 Vic., cap. 41, sec. 12*), issued a summons to show cause why the action should not be stayed. The summons, which was returnable on the 4th of November before one of the masters, was referred to Mr. Justice Field, before whom the case was argued on November 15 and 18. The judge decided that the onus lay upon the defendant (Wilkes) to satisfy him that there was not reasonable ground for alleging there was want of good faith or reasonable care. Counsel therefore opened the case on behalf of the defendant. Mr. Justice Field, in giving judgment, held that the defendant (Wilkes) had made out that there was no want of good faith or reasonable care on his part in giving his lunacy certificate. The action was therefore stayed.

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* “If any proceedings are taken against any person for signing, or carrying out, or doing any act with a view to sign or carry out any such order, report, or certificate, or presenting any such petition as in the last preceding subsection mentioned—i.e., petition for a reception order—or doing anything in pursuance of this Act, such proceedings may, upon summary application to the High Court of Justice, or a judge thereof, be stayed upon such terms as to costs and otherwise as the court or judge may think fit, if the court or judge is satisfied that there is no reasonable ground for alleging want of good faith or reasonable care.”

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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First instance of the Operation of the new Lunacy Act

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