MB v PB [2022] EWCOP 14

P (PB) was 65 years old when she suffered a severe brain haemorrhage in March 2018 which led to impaired cognitive function and right sided weakness and spatial neglect and she was assessed as lacking capacity to make various decisions. P received a significant care package and lived in a specialist care home and she was likely to need this care for the rest of her life.

Safeguarding concerns had been raised regarding MB’s conduct towards P from the early days of her admission to hospital and there had also been significant concerns regarding his ‘combative approach’ to those medical professionals who had been involved in P’s care. In light of this, there was a restriction in place for MB’s contact with P to 2 supervised hours per day. This regime was in place on 15/04/19 when P was transferred to the care home.

There was an allegation on 05/02/20 that MB had inappropriately touched P and, following this, Covid restrictions were imposed on the home and, from 03/04/20, MB’s contact was restricted to 2 video calls per week. MB commenced proceedings to seek an order to return P to the family home to live with him as it was in her best interests. However, on 21/04/21, an injunction was granted which prohibited MB from having direct contact with P and from entering the care home. MB therefore sought to challenge the standard authorisation and contact restrictions.

MB did not accept any of the criticisms made against him and so it became necessary to hold a fact-finding hearing of the allegations made against him.

Evidence was heard from one of P’s children, P’s sister, a nurse who witnessed an event between MB and P, as well as the general manager of the care home. A pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour before P’s admission into full time care was found and this had continued ever since. It was also found that P had a controlling attitude of care staff, that he sought to interfere with the provision of care to P, and that he had sought to limit P’s contact with family members. P had found contact with MB upsetting at times, but had also been found to be happy with contact with MB on occasions.

It was found that it may not be in P’s best interests for contact with MB to be stopped; the care home manager was happy for a trial of contact between P and MB, face to face, in a pod, not in the main building, with a Perspex screen between them (at least while Covid restrictions were in place in Wales), and it was suggested that consideration would be given by the parties to a trial period of contact so that P’s reaction to the contact could be assessed, over a number of visits, as well as seeing if MB could comply with the required restrictions. A best interests judgment was not being made that contact should take place, but that it should be explored so that P’s reaction could be observed. Virtual contact between and MB could continue in the meantime.

A further hearing was to be held once the parties had considered the Judgment.

The full judgement can be read here

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