Hugh is a consultant old age psychiatrist with a special interest in law as it applies to medicine, particularly mental health. Many mental disorders affect the power of thought and decision-making, and this can create complex medicolegal issues.
Hugh is particularly interested in mental capacity and how mental health conditions such as dementia affect capacity. English law in this area is changing rapidly with revisions to both the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Mental Health Act 1983. Hugh has been active in representing the Royal College of Psychiatrists in consultations on proposed changes in the law, and in drafting the Code of Practice for the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019 and the Liberty Protection Safeguards.
Hugh read PPP at St John’s College, Oxford (BA 1981) and then qualified in medicine from Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London (MB, BS 1984), before training in psychiatry in the Oxford region. He carried out research at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm (1984, 1994) and Johns Hopkins University (1991-2), where he was a visiting research fellow, in the course of research for his Oxford DM (1997). He was an honorary senior clinical lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford from 1991 to 2014.
He studied medical law at Cardiff University (LLM, 2012), and since then has written and taught widely on the interaction between medicine and law. He is a member of the Academy of Experts, sits as a medical member of the First Tier Tribunal (mental health), and regularly provides expert reports to courts. He continues to practice as an NHS consultant psychiatrist in Oxfordshire.
Hugh teaches on the Medical Law and Ethics BCL course, and has given seminars in the Medical Law and Ethics Discussion Group. He provides specialist advice on medical aspects of capacity and mental health law.