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Supreme Court rules on the powers of Court of Protection

Related Member(s):
Hugh Southey QC

This appeal considered whether a commissioning body can, by its decision not to fund a particular option for contact, remove the jurisdiction of the Court of Protection to make a best interests decision about contact, and whether the failure to conduct a best interests assessment and/or determine the facts breached N’s rights under the ECHR to a fair trial and a family life. The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the parent’s appeal and held that the Court of Protection did not have the power to order the respondent to fund the parents’ plan, nor to order the care providers to do what they were unwilling or unable to do. The Court has no greater power than to make a decision that the relevant person would have made himself, and thus it can only choose between the available options. The Supreme Court held that the judge was entitled to conclude, in substance, that no useful purpose would have been served by continuing the hearing.

Hugh Southey QC, Fiona Paterson (Serjeants’ Inn Chambers) and Kiran Bhogal (Hill Dickinson LLP) were involved in this case.

A summary of and link to the judgment, please click here.

Please click here for Hill Dickinson briefing note.