Legal & Ethical Policy Unit

The Legal & Ethical Policy Unit (LEPU) was founded in 2015 as a sub-committee of the Professional Affairs & Safety Committee.


  • Acting upon legal decisions that require ethical and clinical guidance for the specialty.
  • Responding to Section 28 coroner requests.
  • Producing publications for journals / newlsetters and policy documents on relevant issues.
  • Holding fact-finding colloquia in order to inform the above.
  • Ensuring the FICM and, where appropriate, its partners are kept abreast of all relevant developments.
  • It does not provide expert witnesses for the Court, nor can it comment on individual legal cases of our members or their Trusts.


Available here: Committees, Advisory Groups and Sub-Committee membership.

Supreme Court Verdict On The Case Of Y

The Supreme Court has handed down its verdict on the case of Y which considers when it is necessary to seek the approval of the court before Clinically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration is withdrawn from a person with a prolonged disorder of consciousness.  The Supreme Court verdict was there is no requirement to seek court approval.  The verdict also broadened to consider the wider question of the withdrawal or withholding of any form of life-sustaining treatment from a person lacking the capacity to consent to or refuse such treatment. 

The Legal & Ethical Policy Unit  undertook a written legal intervention into the case which was welcomed by the court for setting the case in the context of its impact on wider clinical care.  The Unit has provided a summary of the verdict here  for members.

Guidance on the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

Following the judgement from the Court of Appeal in the Ferreira v Coroner of Inner South London case regarding Deprivation of Liberty (DoLS) in the ICU, a summary statement has been prepared on behalf of the Faculty and Intensive Care Society. In May 2017, the Supreme Court refused permission to the appellant to appeal in this case. 

FICM & ICS Guidance on MCA and DoLS   

The judgement pronounced that DoLS does not apply in the administration of life saving treatment, with the exception of very special circumstances. The FICM Legal and Ethical Policy Unit submitted a written intervention as part of the case and consider this a positive development for the management of DoLS within the critical care environment. A brief summary of the judgement can be found here: