An article about a terrifying judgement of the Court of Protection in which a man’s daughter was imprisoned for contempt for taking him to see a lawyer to challenge his placement in a care home by the local authority. And for witchcraft. Yes really, witchcraft.
If your local council places you in a care home and you or your family object can you talk to them about it? Can you talk to a lawyer? Or would that be contempt of Court punishable by imprisonment? What if your family helps you? Would they be in contempt?
Most reasonable people would say a resounding “No” to the question of Contempt. Step forward HHJ Cardinal – the circuit judge with the courage to say “Yes!”
The case of SCC v JM, and ors is reported on Mental Health Law Online and is an anonymised public judgement. The Witchfinder publishes no information other than what is already in the public domain. The document has been missed by the national media so far, which is a shame as it is a horrifying and clear cut scandal. The case concerns an elderly man, JM, who suffers from Alzheimer’s syndrome and has been placed in a care home. There is apparently some form of dispute about his residence, which has led to litigation in the Court of Protection.
JM has three children who disagree with the local authority. This is not uncommon. Your humble correspondent the Witchfinder is a law student who often advises such people pro-bono. About 75-90% of the time the local authority is right. Roughly 25-10% of the time there is something to be said for the other side. About 10-5% of the time it is a horror story.
The disturbing thing about this case is that, according to the judgement, an order was made by Judge Owen on 19/05/2012 that prohibited the respondents (the old man’s children) from helping the vulnerable elderly man challenge the placement – “the respondents should not encourage JM to leave or to ask to leave his placement, or discuss with him the possibility of moving back home, or remove him from the jurisdiction of the court.”