(Court of Protection; HHJ Moir; 4 November 2009)
The court made a declaration that it was in the adult's best interests to have weekly direct contact with the cohabitant. The Local Authority prevented such contact because of concerns about cohabitant's effect on the adult. The Official Solicitor agreed with the Authority that any interference with the right to respect for family life was proportionate to need to protect the adult. It was clear that there were legitimate concerns and it was appropriate for the Authority to seek to discuss matters with the cohabitant. The adult's daughters were deemed to be capable of making the decision that she should not be seeing the cohabitant. They told the care home that the cohabitant should not be allowed to visit the adult. There had been no assessment of the adult's capacity for 10 months, during which time cohabitant was not allowed any contact.
Where capacity is an issue, the Authority must act with all expediency to secure determination of capacity. There was no Authority policy in place concerning contact with an adult lacking capacity in their care. Also there was no physical risk to the adult or others alleged by the Authority. There was no attempt to weigh up the detriment to adult by loss of relationship with former cohabitant.