Christine Cooper represented T, by her accredited legal representative, in a successful application for an order to permit a trial move home.
The judge ordered T be allowed home on a trial basis despite some safety risks - as it was still in her best interests because the move more closely accords with what T herself wants.
T, who is in her nineties is a national of another European country. She has Alzeimer's, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis and spinal fractures.
She came to the UK as a young adult, married here but divorced. Her only child, a son died, and she is not in contact with her daughter-in-law or grandchildren. She has no other family but has a group of supportive friends who speak her first language, including M – to whom she gave power of attorney.
Background to the application
Until August 2020, T lived in her own flat. After hospital treatment she was discharged to a care home, but subsequently clearly and consistently expressed her desire to return to live in her flat.
Her attorney (M) approached the local authority in December 2020 to explain that T would like to return home.
Despite confirmation in late 2021 that T’s flat is suitable for her to return to, and M having identified a suitable live-in carer, the local authority failed to:
- progress the trial move home
- prepare the care plan, or
- write a transition plan as directed by the court.
The local authority argued that the proposed imminent trial at home was premature and too risky. The local authority wanted more time to ensure T’s blood glucose monitoring and concerns about her mobility could be properly managed at home.
DJ Beckley referring to s.4 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, said any decision he made must be in T’s best interests. In so doing, “the magnetic fact in this case is T’s past and present wishes and feelings”. Her wishes “are very clear, and have been clear for a considerable period of time, that she wants to return home”.
The judge recognised that a return home “will carry with it some risks”. However he considered these manageable and acceptable when weighed against T’s consistent wish to return home.
He made the order as filed by Christine in draft, ruling that T will return to her property (later) in June and at the next hearing approximately three weeks later, he will “consider everyone’s views on how successful that’s been”.
A fuller account of the hearing is available on the Open Justice Court of Protection Project website.