AB v HB & Anor [2021] EWCOP 45

This case involved an application for committal for breach of a court order.

The Protected Party (P) is 96 years old and has three children, two of which live in the UK with him (the Respondents), and the other (the Applicant) who lives in the US. P has a significant estate, including outright ownership of the property where he lives with both Respondents.

In, or around, December 2018, when the Applicant visited P, he appeared not to recognise him. In late 2019, when the Applicant tried to visit again, HB refused to let him in. The Applicant sought legal advice because he was particularly concerned that P had lost capacity to manage his property and affairs and was being financially exploited.

One of the UK siblings, HB, continually obstructed attempts to have P's capacity assessed and the Applicant sought to have HB committed to prison for breach of a court order made on 24 April 2020. However, by the time of the hearing of the application, the capacity assessment had been carried out.

The court reminded HB of his obligations to obey court orders. The court was satisfied that, on this occasion, it was not necessary to impose any custodial sentence, immediate or suspended, and neither was it necessary to impose a fine. The court did not propose to make any penalty, because it intended to give HB the opportunity to demonstrate that he has learnt the importance of compliance with court orders.

The full judgement can be read here

If you have any questions regarding this summary case law please contact Julie Fitzpatrick here

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