Published: 17/04/2003, Volume II3, No. 5851 Page 10

A recent court ruling on the rights of same-sex partners under mental health law could have wider implications, the Medical Defence Union has warned.The case heard in London's High Court last week ruled that the same-sex partner of a patient detained under the Mental Health Act should be treated as the patient's nearest relative.Their views would have precedence over all others including parents, siblings and children.The MDU says the ruling means that in all situations where it is appropriate to consult family members over a patient's treatment, a same-sex partner may have a standing equivalent to a husband or wife.