Family And Lawyers Speak Out After Son Deprived Of Liberty
A man with learning disabilities has received a six-figure settlement after being unlawfully detained in a care home for more than seven years.
The man, who has autism, was removed from his family home aged 24 and placed in accommodation by Lancashire County Council.
Between February 2010 and April 2017 he lived in a care home which was a 45 minute drive away from his family in the Fylde. The accommodation was locked with an alarm on the door and the man was under one-to-one supervision for up to 14 hours a day.
He was prevented from or heavily restricted in accessing the internet, social media sites and email.
Deprivation of liberty lawyers investigate
His family instructed expert public law and human rights lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the decision to place him in the care home and to keep him there, saying it unlawfully deprived him of his liberty.
Lancashire County Council has now agreed a £200,000 settlement for the man, who is known as CHH. It has also agreed to pay £155,000 towards the cost of a deputy to manage CHH’s funds on his behalf as he lacks mental capacity to manage his property and affairs.
Council apologises for breaching man's human rights
The council accepted it breached CHH’s human rights and apologised to CHH. The High Court has approved the settlement.
Expert Opinion“This is a shocking case where the unlawful restrictions placed on CHH have had a profound impact on his life.
“During his placement he was in effect imprisoned, living in locked accommodation miles away from his family. To make things worse, CHH and his family repeatedly stated that he was unhappy and he wanted to live nearer to his family. Given his strong objections to his placement, the local authority should have referred his case to the Court of Protection to determine where it was in his best interests to live. It didn’t do that and so CHH was denied the opportunity of being able to challenge the deprivation of his liberty in a court.
“As a result he lived for many years in a placement where he was extremely unhappy, despite health professionals also raising concerns that he was inappropriately placed.
“While nothing can make up for the years CHH lost we’re pleased that we’ve at least been able to secure this settlement for CHH and hope he can now try and look to the future the best he can. For the moment, he is now living happily with his family at home.
“This case acts as a stark reminder to all local authorities of the need to ensure that the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards are followed, and that those objecting to their placements are supported to challenge them in the Court of Protection.” Fiona McGhie - Partner
Deprivation of liberty: CHH's story
CHH, who lived at home with his parents and siblings, was moved to a temporary care home in January 2010 following an issue at home. His initial placement was deemed completely unsuitable and so a month later he was transferred to the care home that he lived in until April 2017.
It was not until 2017, when CHH’s mother contacted Irwin Mitchell who issued a case in the Court of Protection, that it was agreed that CHH could leave the care home and return to live with his family. Since then, he has been living happily with his family, benefiting hugely from the close relationship he has with his brothers.
Mum reveals impact of son being unlawfully detained
Speaking on behalf of the family, CHH’s mum said after the hearing: “When our son was removed we thought it would only be a short-term measure. Little did we know it would turn into years of him being deprived of his liberty.
“When he was in the care home you could see a real difference in him and not for the better. His development went backwards, he became more withdrawn, wouldn’t communicate with people and his mental health suffered. It was heartbreaking to see.
“For years we asked the council for more to be done to help our son but we felt that every time we asked nothing was done.
“Since he’s come home he’s a totally different person. His quality of life has improved beyond all measure.
“We’d rather not have found ourselves in the position of having to contact lawyers but we felt we were left with no other choice when nothing was changing for CHH and he was being treated so unfairly.
“We just hope that speaking out we can raise awareness of what it means to be unlawfully deprived of your liberty so more families feel able to challenge placements they feel are wrong for their loved one.”