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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

08 MAY 2013

WELFARE: SCC v LM, IM, WM and EM [2012] EWHC 1137 (COP)

(Court of Protection, His Honour Judge Cardinal, 12 April 2012)

The 79-year-old man, who lived in a local authority residential care home under the Deprivation of Liberty provisions, suffered from Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. His daughter did not agree with his accommodation and wished to be permitted to take him to Turkey where she lived. In the absence of permission being granted she removed him from the care home and took him to Turkey anyway in breach of the provisions.

When they returned and the man once again took up residence at the care home, allegations were made that the woman had been abusive towards local authority staff and that during one visit she behaved inappropriately which caused the man distress and necessitated her being removed by the police. Injunctions were granted to prevent inter alia molestation and harassment. There have also been concerns that the woman intended to unlawfully publish details of the case in the press.

A hearing was convened to determine what residence and care package would be in the man's best interests given his incapacity and also who should act as his financial deputy and who should he have contact with. The woman, opposed by the local authority put herself forward as his financial deputy.

A psychologist provided a report on the daughter's psychological problems and highlighted that her preoccupation with her own concerns, her reluctance to listen to others and suspicion of social workers and other professionals placed a significant barrier to her engaging in co-operative and effective work with outside agencies. The judge found the evidence compelling that there was no prospect of her caring for her father.

On the basis of all the evidence the man's best interests were served by remaining at the care home. The local authority care package was well constructed and covered the necessary aspects of the case. In contrast a trip to Turkey either short or long term would be opposed to his best interests. The daughter had failed to prepare a detailed care plan and had been unable to cope with her father in the past.

The interference with the man's human rights was in accordance with law, necessary to secure his safety, welfare and peace of mind and was proportionate. The local authority would be appointed as the man's financial deputy.

 

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