Covid-19 and personal examinations within the Mental Health Act – an update

Following the decision in the Devon Partnership case concerning the lawfulness of virtual personal assessments required under the MHA, NHS England and DHSC guidance has now been amended to remove reference to examinations being undertaken virtually – personal examination means personal examination.

The decision means that applications for detention under sections 2,3,4 and 7 require the relevant professionals to be physically in the same place as the individual being assessed, notwithstanding the increased risks associated with this during the pandemic, for them to be lawful.

The updated guidance now reflects the High Court’s decision. You can view the updated guidance dated 26 January 2021 here.

Do get in touch if you require advice and support in relation to remote assessments or applications.

Our content explained

Every piece of content we create is correct on the date it’s published but please don’t rely on it as legal advice. If you’d like to speak to us about your own legal requirements, please contact one of our expert lawyers.


Mills & Reeve Sites navigation
A tabbed collection of Mills & Reeve sites.
My Mills & Reeve navigation
Subscribe to, or manage your My Mills & Reeve account.
My M&R


Register for My M&R to stay up-to-date with legal news and events, create brochures and bookmark pages.

Existing clients

Log in to your client extranet for free matter information, know-how and documents.


Mills & Reeve system for employees.