Social Media

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Mentally ill woman who wants to go home loses latest round of court fight

Written by Brian Farmer

A mentally ill 60-year-old woman who wants to leave supported living accommodation and go home has lost the latest round of a court fight.

The woman, who has been diagnosed as having schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder, is embroiled in a dispute with council social workers over where she should live.

Now a judge in a specialist court has ruled the woman does not have the mental capacity to "litigate".

Judge Margaret Glentworth has decided the woman does not have the capacity to use and weigh relevant information or give instructions to lawyers.

The judge analysed the case at a hearing in the Court of Protection, where issues involving people who may lack the mental capacity to make decisions are considered, in London and announced her decision in a written ruling.

She said the woman could not be identified but named Brent Council (pictured) in London as the local authority involved in the case.

A judge is expected to make decisions about where the woman should live at a later date

Judges normally appoint third parties to represent the interests of people found to lack the mental capacity to litigate.

The woman had been admitted to hospital two years ago then moved to supported living accommodation about eight months later.

Judge Glentworth said the woman had been "consistent in her wish to return home" but social services staff thought such a move not in her best interests.

The judge analysed a psychiatrist's report before making a decision.

"I am satisfied that (she) understands in broad terms what the subject-matter of the litigation is," said Judge Glentworth.

"I am not satisfied that she is able to use and weigh the relevant information to make decisions and give instructions in relation to matters which are integral to the process of this litigation."

The judge said any decision about someone's mental capacity was "significant".

"A finding that a person lacks capacity in relation to a specific matter means that she is deprived of the right to make decisions for herself," she said.

"That is something which adults in the general population take for granted.

"It is a significant interference in a person's right to self-determination."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved.