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The Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986

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Definition of “nearest relative”N.I.

32.—(1) For the purposes of this Order “relative” means any of the following, that is to say—

(a)spouse;

(b)child;

(c)parent;

(d)brother or sister;

(e)grandparent;

(f)grandchild;

(g)uncle or aunt;

(h)nephew or niece.

(2) In deducing relationships for the purposes of this Article, any relationship of the half-blood shall be treated as a relationship of the whole blood and an illegitimate person shall be treated as the legitimate child of

[F1(a)his mother, and

(b)if his father has parental responsibility for him within the meaning of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995, his father.]

(3) In this Order, subject to the provisions of this Article and to the following provisions of this Part, the “nearest relative” means the person first listed in paragraph (1) who is caring for the patient, or was so caring immediately before the admission of the patient to a hospital or his reception into guardianship, failing whom the person first so listed who is for the time being surviving, relatives of the whole blood being preferred to relatives of the same description of the half-blood, and the elder or eldest of two or more relatives listed in any sub-paragraph of that paragraph being preferred to the other or others of those relatives, regardless of sex.

(4) Where the person who, under paragraph (3), would be the nearest relative of a patient—

(a)in the case of a patient ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland, is not so resident; or

(b)being the spouse of the patient, is permanently separated from the patient, either by agreement or under an order of a court, or has deserted or has been deserted by the patient for a period which has not come to an end; or

(c)not being the spouse or parent of the patient, is for the time being under 18 years of age;F1. . .

Sub‐para. (d) rep. by 1995 NI 2

the nearest relative of the patient shall be ascertained without regard to that person.

(5) In this Article “spouse” includes a person who is living with the patient as if he or she were the spouse of the patient (or, if the patient is for the time being an in-patient in a hospital, was so living until the patient was admitted), and has been or had been so living for a period of not less than 6 months; but a person shall not be treated by virtue of this paragraph as the nearest relative of a married patient unless the spouse of the patient is disregarded by virtue of paragraph (4)(b).

(6) A person, other than a relative, with whom the patient ordinarily resides (or, if the patient is for the time being an in-patient in a hospital, last ordinarily resided before he was admitted), and with whom he has or had been ordinarily residing for a period of not less than 5 years, shall be treated for the purposes of this Order as if he were a relative but—

(a)shall be treated for the purposes of paragraph (3) as if mentioned last in paragraph (1); and

(b)shall not be treated by virtue of this paragraph as the nearest relative of a married patient unless the spouse of the patient is disregarded by virtue of paragraph (4)(b).

(7) References to the nearest relative of a patient in any provision of this Order requiring the responsible[F2 authority] to inform the nearest relative of a patient of any matter or furnish the nearest relative of a patient with any document shall be construed as references to the person (if any) appearing to the responsible[F2 authority] to be the nearest relative of the patient.

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