After being unlawfully detained under the Mental Capacity Act, a 19 year old woman (P) has finally been allowed to return to her family after 6 months in the care of the local authority. The judge ruled that the authority had violated a number of Articles under the European Court of Human Rights, as well as failing to follow the correct procedures mandated under the MCA.

When commenting on the local authority’s actions, the judge stated there had been ‘blatant disregard of the process of the MCA and a failure to respect the rights of both P and her family under the ECHR’.

P was first taken into care as a respite placement whilst her mother went on holiday. However, when her mother returned the authority ruled that she was not to be returned home as the result of a medical report.

P has severe learning difficulties and autism spectrum disorder, and communicated with people through gestures and pictures due to a lack of verbal capacity. In an incident at school where she was particularly distressed she began to hit herself in the chest and sustained bruises. When the medical report was undertaken the paediatrician was not informed of P’s previous behaviour and it was ruled that further injuries were unlikely to be self inflicted, which was later used as part of the case that she should continue reside under the authorities care.

When the case was brought before the court judge identified numerous violations under the ECHR that the authority had breached by preventing P from being returned into the care of her family. The judge ruled that P’s right to liberty and security of person has been carelessly disregarded as she was unlawfully retained in care. They also held that the authority had breached P’s and her family right to a private family life, home and correspondence under article 8.
The verdict returned concluded that the course of action the local authority had taken was completely wrong, and that there was a complete lack of understanding of the law that dictates the correct procedures in this area.

Here at Farleys we have a dedicated team specialising in actions against local authorities where they have been negligent and often where their actions give rise to breaches under the Human Rights Act. If you wish to speak with one of our specialist solicitors, please e-mail us or calls us now on 0845 050 1958.