DOLS – Part 5
There have been a number of cases following the Supreme Court ruling in the Cheshire West case in 2014. The key phrase that came from this case was the issue of whether someone who was cognitively impaired was under the “continuous control and supervision” of their carers.
The next case that I will look at is W City Council v Mrs L, the details of which are:
Mrs L was 93 and had dementia. She had lived in her house for the last 39 years. She had 2 falls in 2013, the first time injuring her hip, which required an operation. Once she became increasingly frail and vulnerable a care package was arranged by the Local Authority. She continues to live in her own home and gets great pleasure from being able to go out into the garden.
The garden was open originally, so work was done to enclose it due to the risk of her wandering off and there are sensors that automatically switch on at night & off in the morning. If the alarm went off, her daughter would be contacted and if she were unavailable, then the call would re-route to the emergency services, who would guide her safely back.
Because Mrs L was living in her own home, this case was considered by the Court of Protection and they had to consider whether she was deprived of her liberty. The Court considered who was providing the care and who would bring her back if the alarm was triggered, which in first instance was her family. The Court said with this family involvement the deprivation was not “imputable to the state” and in which case she was not deprived of her liberty.
Like many other cases decided after the Cheshire West case, it is arguable that she was under fairly “continuous control and supervision” and although she may be able to leave, she would always have been brought back, so not free to leave completely!