In 2018, the Protected Party suffered from a severe brain haemorrhage. She had been assessed as lacking capacity to make decisions regarding her residence and care. The Protected Party relied completely on others for her care and had resided in a care home since 2019.
There were safeguarding issues surrounding whether the Protected Party should have contact with her husband due to his conduct towards her, and there had been significant concerns about his combative approach towards the medical professionals involved in the Protected Party’s care. This meant that in February 2019, his contact with the Protected Party was reduced to 2 hours a day, and the visits had to be supervised.
Proceedings thereafter resulted from the Protected Party’s husband challenging the contact restrictions that had been put in place. The proceedings had been brought to challenge S21A of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The Court had the power pursuant to S16 of the Mental Capacity Act to make decisions on behalf of Protected Party as an incapacitated adult.
The care home had served notice to remove the Protected Party from their premises, due to the husband’s inappropriate behaviour. In June 2020, the Protected Party’s husband began proceedings to obtain an Order for the Protected Party to return to the family home and reside with him. He was adamant that the contact restrictions placed upon the Protected Party were not in her best interests.
The Protected Party’s husband denied the allegations he was accused of, and so matters progressed to a hearing. At this hearing, the Protected Party was represented by the Official Solicitor.
The Judge found that there was a pattern of controlling and coercive behaviour by the Protected Party’s husband before the Protected Party was admitted into full time care, and that the same continued after. The Protected Party’s husband had also been accused of touching the Protected Party inappropriately.
It was also noted that the Protected Party’s husband was controlling and had an overbearing attitude towards the care staff in order to control and limit the contact the Protected Party had with family members. The staff members advised that they noticed a change In the Protected Party’s behaviour when the husband arrived to visit. It was noted that the Protected Party found contact with her husband to be upsetting and unwelcoming, however on occasion did appear happy following the visits.
The Protected Party’s sister reported that the Protected Party was on edge most of the time he visited the care home, and when she resided at home, that she was not allowed to leave the property without his permission. She further reported that the Protected Party had been let go from several jobs due to her husband loitering outside and making colleagues feel uncomfortable. In addition, she alleged that the husband did not let the Protected Party have contact with any men.
A conclusion was reached that it was not in the best interests of the Protected Party to stop her husband from visiting at the care home and from maintaining contact with her, with the Judge stating that:
“I am not making at this stage a best interests judgment that contact should take place, but I am expressing a strong desire that its practicality should be explored with a hope that a trial might take place in which P’s reaction may be observed.”