At the hearing the respondent argued that the Court of Protection, on N’s behalf, could only decide between the ‘available options’ and that it was inappropriate to try to obtain a best interests declaration to put pressure on the respondent to make further funding available. The judge agreed that she could not consider the parents’ proposals for this reason, and she declared that the contact plan proposed by the respondents was in N’s best interests. The Court of Appeal upheld the judge’s decision.
The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed N’s parents’ appeal. Although the Court of Protection had jurisdiction to continue with the planned hearing, it did not have power to order the respondent to fund the parents’ plan, nor to order the actual care providers to do that which they were unwilling or unable to do. The judge had therefore been entitled to conclude that no useful purpose was served by continuing the hearing.
Read the full text of the judgment and the press summary on the Supreme Court website