(Court of Protection, His Honour Judge Cardinal, 6 February 2013)
The 64-year-old woman left her husband and family in London and moved to the Midlands to cohabit with a man she had been having an affair with. Following the move the couple contacted the police alleging that the woman's marriage had been abusive and that they now felt in danger from her family.
Just after they moved she was left severely disabled from a cerebral aneurism and now required 24-hour care. It was currently impossible to ascertain her wishes and feelings. Her family had traced her but were prevented from seeing the woman by the local authority due to her expressed wishes when she was able to state them, namely, those contained in a will and statement of wishes prepared and signed prior to her illness.
Proceedings had taken place in the Court of Protection to determine matters of her care and all that remained was to decide whether the woman's best interests would be served by the reintroduction of familial contact.
After careful consideration of the evidence including from the detective who took the woman's statement in relation to the alleged danger posed from her family, from family members and from a linguistics expert, it was not possible to order direct contact at this stage. It appeared that the decision she took prior to her illness was to break with the past and, therefore, it was in her best interests to have no contact.
It was possible that the time would come when it would be in the woman's best interests to see her family but only when she was capable of expressing a view to that effect. It was, however, only right for the family to be kept informed of developments on a 6-monthly basis.