Expert Comments On Latest Legal Challenge Reports
Public law specialists at Irwin Mitchell have revealed their concerns after it was revealed there has been a surge in the number of legal challenges in the Court of Protection related to detention.
According to reports in the Times, a threefold increase has been seen in the number of vulnerable and disabled adults and their families challenging how they are looked after in residential care homes.
It is believed the number has risen from 17 cases between April and June this year to 52 between July and September, with the high-profile coverage of the case of Steven Neary pinpointed as the cause of the increase.
In that case, it was ruled that the 21-year-old was unlawfully deprived of his liberty at a West London home.
Commenting on the increase, Yogi Amin, a Partner and specialist in public law cases related to health and social care, said: “This increase in cases is no real surprise as people are being more aware of their rights and the law in this area but it does raise a real concern about postcode lottery of safeguarding and care services. What it does suggest is that many people believe local authorities are not meeting their obligations when it comes to the care services offered to vulnerable members of society.
“Decisions on the support given to adults must always be made in their best interests, and the Court of Protection exists to ensure that this is the case in cases where individuals potentially lack mental capacity to make the relevant decision.
“Councils need to recognise that they could leave themselves upon to a legal challenge if the care they arrange is seen to breach an individual’s right to liberty and family life, as outlined in the Human Rights Act.
“We act in these cases in the Court of Protection across the country and would encourage anyone with concerns to get swift specialist legal advice as soon as possible and then there will be no postcode lottery of care services and levels of safeguarding.”