Edward Bishop QC has successfully defended an NHS trust and the London Ambulance Service against claims under the Human Rights Act 1998 brought by the foster family of a man who died of a heart attack in Wandsworth Prison. The judgment deals with the legal test for liability, causation and victim status.
The central allegation was that there was culpable delay in the attendance of paramedics caused by nursing error and an insufficiently flexible ambulance triage system. The judge rejected both allegations on the facts and clarified the law on causation in cases of death in custody from natural causes. She also dealt with “victim status” under the HRA, ruling that the deceased’s foster mother was entitled to bring a claim but his “foster brother” was not.