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Court of Protection rules on deprivation of liberty case

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In a judgment this month, the Court of Protection (CoP) dismissed suggestions that the authorities had wrongly deprived a disabled man of his “freedom of movement”.

The CoP had been asked to consider the case of a 35-year-old man, who is living with a range of conditions, including cerebral palsy, autism and learning disabilities.

The individual, whose name was not made public, has been living in a flat since 2006, assisted by carers provided by North Yorkshire County Council and the local NHS trust.

Five years ago, the local authority had applied for a formal declaration that the man lacked the mental capacity to make decisions regarding his welfare. They argued that in the circumstances limiting the man’s movement, effectively confining him to the flat, could be justified.

While this arrangement was agreed on an interim basis, an official solicitor eventually raised concerns and argued that the current situation breached the man’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (which enshrines the right to liberty in law.)

Initially a District Judge agreed with the argument and refused to renew the deprivation of liberty order.

However, both the council and NHS trust chose to appeal against this ruling and the case was re-examined by the Court of Protection.

Mr Justice Cobb decided that the previous hearing had not taken into consideration the fact that the man’s flat had been specially adapted to meet his needs.

“Neither [the individual’s] property, nor the manner in which his care package was delivered was so unsuitable as to be unlawful,” he said.

As a result, the deprivation of liberty was reauthorized.

At Lester Morrill, our specialist Court of Protection solicitors are experienced in working with vulnerable individuals and their families, friends and care teams to ensure the best possible outcome. We currently manage cases involving private clients, solicitors, local authorities, referrals from the court and case managers. We also advise on matters relating to health and welfare, receiving referrals from family members and advocates. Please contact our team for further information.