Scott Storey appeared on behalf of Surrey County Council before the Vice President of the Court of Protection, the Honourable Mr Justice Hayden, in an application concerning restrictions imposed by a care home on visitors arising from the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The issues under consideration included Articles 5 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in light of BP being deprived of his liberty in the care home.
The judgment can be read here, a summary of which is as follows:
BP received regular visits from family members and the restrictions were described by the Vice President as a “seismic” change to BP’s quality of life, requiring the need for “heightened vigilance to ensure that BP’s fundamental rights are not eclipsed by the exigencies of the Coronavirus pandemic”. In light of the restrictions, BP’s daughter and litigation friend urgently applied for his discharge from the care home.
The Vice President referred to the Stay at Home measures announced by the Prime Minister and to BP’s vulnerability to COVID-19. It was agreed that the restrictions imposed by the care home required the court to reassess BP’s best interests from his own perspective.
The proposed plan to ensure that BP maintained contact whilst in the care home involved Skype with concurrent instant messaging or use of a communication board (in light of BP’s deafness) and, by arrangement, the family to go to BP’s bedroom window. The Vice President noted that this would require “time, effort and some creativity” but was “entirely satisfied that this is a balanced and proportionate way forward which respects BP’s dignity and keeps his particular raft of needs at the centre of the plan.”