(Court of Protection, Baker J, 7 October 2011)
The 18-year-old girl suffered from Asperger's Syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder. Her adolescence had been very turbulent with episodes of aggression, violence and substance abuse.
The Court of Protection had made interim declarations that the young woman lacked capacity to litigate and the capacity to make decisions as to residence, whether to accept care and support, contact with others, disclosure of medical and other records, disclosure of her whereabouts and conditions and whether or not she could take prescribed medication.
There was now debate as to whether the woman still lacked capacity and the local authority asserted that she retained capacity. Therefore, an expert report was directed to address that issue and the court was asked to decide on who the most appropriate expert would be.
There were clear reasons for disregarding one of the proposed experts. He had identified himself that he would need further training regarding the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and he had already given a provisional view to the young woman when he was in no position to do so. A third possible expert was identified but disregarded once it became clear that she had links with the company that ran a care home the young woman previously lived at.