Landmark ruling in court of protection case

On Monday a son's battle to care for his elderly father made legal history when a judge ruled that his case against the local authority could be reported in real time.

The case concerns a 92 year old widower who according to his adult son, is being forced against his wishes to live in a care home after receiving respite care instead of being allowed to return home.  The son also claims that both the care home and the local authority have unlawfully denied the 92 year old unsupervised contact with his son.

This case is being heard in the court of protection, a court who deals with vulnerable people who are assessed as not being able to make decisions about their own lives.  It is very rare for the court to allow proceedings to be reported but when the judge grants publicity it is strictly limited to key facts and only to be reported once the final judgement has been made.

Mr Justice Ryder, the judge who is reported to have ruled that this case is a paradigm case in an area which happens to be at the forefront of public awareness and therefore is of specific public interest.

The local authority contests the claims, maintaining there are straightforward health and welfare matters as well as safeguarding issues.  Bruising was discovered during admission to the care home back in December which suggested, strengthened by the father's own claims, that he had been hurt by his son.

These accusations are vigorously denied by the son, claiming that his father has Alzheimer's disease which leads to him making accusations against others.   The local authority concedes the accusations of abuse are not supported by police, and in court failed to present any medical evidence supporting its allegations.

A representing solicitor, Ulele Burnham, reported to agree that the 92 year old should temporarily remain in the care home until further assessments have been made.  She also is reported to have said that it is clear from the evidence she has seen so far, that the allegations regarding abuse were misconstructions or were false and not sustainable.

The case continues.

Source: The Guardian

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Last Updated : 09 August 2011. Page Author: Donna Godding.