Does P have capacity to make decisions as to his care, support and education?

In the recent case of ‘A Local Authority v GP (Capacity – Care, Support and Education) [2020] EWCOP 56’, an application was brought by a Local Authority in respect of P’s capacity to make decisions as to his care, support and education.

By way of background, P is a 19-year-old man with a diagnosis of autism, who also suffers from anxiety and severe learning difficulties.

Following P stopping attending his placement at a specialist school, concerns were raised by the Local Authority as to P’s access to the community and engagement in activities. The feeling was that P required targeted support to develop his social skills, and to prevent him from becoming isolated.

A hearing was listed to assess whether he had capacity to make decisions such as accepting or refusing care, education and support. The Local Authority requested interim declarations stating that P lacked the capacity to refuse an assessment of his care needs (pursuant to s11 Care Act 2014), to make decisions as to his care and support needs (pursuant to s9 Care Act 2014), to request or refuse an assessment of his education and health needs for the purposes of an EHC plan (pursuant to S36{1} Children and Families Act 2014), and to make decisions as to his education and health needs (pursuant to the Children and Families Act 2014).

The conclusion was that P did not have the required capacity to make decisions as to his care, support and education, as P could not understand and weigh up the relevant information.

Ella Wilkinson is a Legal Apprentice in the Costs & Litigation Funding Department at Clarion. You can contact her on 0113 288 5693, or by email to ella.wilkinson@clarionsolicitors.com

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