SD v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea [2021] EWCOP 14

This matter relates to another decision over whether a Protected Party being vaccinated against Covid-19 was in their best interests.

The Protected Party (V) is a lady in her early seventies who resides in a care home due to suffering from Korsakoff’s syndrome. V’s daughter, SD, was the party who contested the decision to vaccinate V against Covid-19. The Court noted that SD was not V’s Deputy nor did she have power of attorney in respect of V’s health and welfare. However, the Court did appoint SD as V’s litigation friend. SD maintained that it was not in V’s best interests to have the Covid-19 vaccine because SD considered that the vaccine was still in a ‘testing’ phase. SD relied on a variety of sources for this assertion noted the ‘varying degree of contingency and weight’ to be applied to these sources. Furthermore, SD also relied on P had been too deferential to medical professionals historically sometimes to her detriment.

V’s care home and the local authority contended that it was in V’s best interests to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The local authority further contended that with V being in a care home it was also in the best interests of the rest of the care home residents for V to be vaccinated.

Hayden J considered the matrix of risk as addressed in Re E (Vaccine) [2021] EWCOP 7. This included considering the risk to V’s health and life if she were to contract the virus without being vaccinated in addition to the impact it could have on the other residents and carers of the care home where V resided. Taking this into account Hayden J considered that the risk to V’s life would be unacceptably high if V was not vaccinated.

Hayden J further confirmed that in similar cases like this then there would be a strong draw towards vaccination. However, he was clear to state that this was not a presumption in similar cases. He concluded that ‘It is P’s voice that requires to be heard and which should never be conflated or confused with the voices of others, including family members however unimpeachable their motivations or however eloquently their own objections are advanced’.

The full judgement can be read here

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