Alex Ruck Keene

Alex is a barrister at Thirty Nine Essex Street Chambers, specialising in mental capacity and mental health law. He is one of the very few practitioners who has experience of appearing/advising upon all aspects of the Court of Protection’s jurisdiction (i.e. health and welfare and property and affairs, as well as its international jurisdiction).  He has been instructed in cases involving the MCA 2005 at all levels up to and including the Supreme Court, in Aintree University Hospitals NHS Trust v James [2013] UKSC 67 [2013] 3 WLR 1299, the first case in which the Supreme Court considered the MCA 2005.   He has been instructed in other ground-breaking cases exploring the limits of the Court’s jurisdiction - a good example being Re MN [2010] COPLR Con Vol 893, the first case in which the international jurisdiction of the Court was the subject of detailed examination.   His significant instructions in the mental health field include: (1) Sessay v (1) South London & Maudsley NHS (2) Met Police [2012] 2 WLR 1071, in which the Divisional Court had to consider for the first time the powers under which incapacitated patients can be required to remain upon hospital premises pending their admission under the MHA 1983 (2) TTM (By His Litigation Friend TM) (Claimant) v (1) Hackney London Borough Council (3) East London NHS Foundation Trust (Defendants) & Secretary of State for Health (Interested Party) [2011] 1 WLR 2873, where the Court of Appeal determined authoritatively the scope of Articles 5(1) and 5(5) ECHR in the context of admission for treatment under the MHA 1983.

He has been recommended by Chambers and Partners as a ‘Band 1’ Practitioner since the category was introduced in 2011, and recommendations from instructing solicitors include that he “is accessible, responsive and calm, and takes everything in his stride. He has a comprehensive knowledge of recent cases,” and that “working with him [is] a real privilege,” citing his “ability to deal with the more technically tricky cases, and the strong relationships he is able to nurture with vulnerable clients.”  Alex’s extensive writing commitments include co-editing the Thirty Nine Essex Street Mental Capacity Law Newsletters, described as a “bible” in Chambers and Partners 2013 and contributing to leading practitioner texts on the Court of Protection and the MCA 2005 more widely.  He regularly delivers training – in a variety of settings – to legal, health and social care professionals on both the MCA 2005 and the MHA 1983.  


What people say about Alex:

"Good clear explanation, he has an extremely strong grasp of the subject- excellent!"

"I have found the whole day informative, gripping and extremely helpful"

"Very informative and certainly cemented by understanding of the MCA and what is required of me as a social worker."

"Very knowledgable facilitator- handouts very detailed and helpful for reference after the course."


Alex's Publications

Court of Protection Handbook: A User's Guide