Our Public Law & Human Rights solicitors helped a young woman with learning and social disabilities get the right independence and support she needed.
Our client, Lucy*, had Autism Spectrum Disorder, learning disabilities and social impairments. She needed a level of support that would also allow her some level of freedom for her future.
Lucy and her litigation friend first contacted our team in 2013 to see if we could help. Following a number of court hearings, in 2015 the CoP decided that Lucy had the capacity to marry and engage in sexual relations. At the same time, the Court also decided that she didn’t have the capacity to make decisions about contact with other people.
Lucy and her carers struggled to find a balance between these two decisions. She had restrictions on having contact with people but at the same time was free to have relationships. Her carers also found it difficult to keep her safe while also giving her some level of freedom.
We went back to the CoP in 2016 to try and find a better solution for Lucy. In 2018 the Court sent Lucy’s case to a High Court Judge to decide what was in her best interests. In the meantime, Lucy had to move to another supportive living placement which was very far from her adoptive mother.
Before the case went to the High Court, our solicitors gathered evidence about her capacity and best interests. We spoke to the local authority regularly about Lucy’s care and got independent experts to give evidence on her mental capacity and best interests.
We also contacted an organisation called Respond, who could give Lucy the psychological support she needed. Respond helps people with learning disabilities and autism who’ve experienced violence or abuse. They aim to support these people so they can live a better, more independent life. We secured an agreement from the local authority to recommend that Lucy get access to the support that Respond provide.
In 2019 at the final court hearing, Mr Justice Hayden decided that it was in Lucy’s best interests to move somewhere closer to her adoptive mother’s home. He also said that a High Court Judge should decide how to handle cases where someone has capacity in certain areas, but lacks capacity in other overlapping areas , as Lucy does.
This successful outcome meant that Lucy can live closer to her family. She is also free to make decisions about her own relationships while receiving the right support from Respond.
Lucy said that she “loves her new home” and she has “never been happier” in her new placement close to home.
"This was a long case for [Lucy], and involved issues which significantly affected her day to day life. It is wonderful to hear that Lucy is so happy and settled in her new home. This case is a good example of how Court of Protection proceedings can empower a person to uphold their rights and have a voice. [Lucy] was very involved in this matter and regularly provided her views to the Court at hearings and through writing letters to the Judge." – Katy Moulton, solicitor
If you need advice on Court of Protection issues, contact our Public Law and Human Rights team today on 0370 1500 100.
*Not client’s real name
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