The court had to decide if the P, who lives in a flat in supported accommodation, was being deprived of her liberty. The court ruled that she was.
The P lives in a flat in supported accommodation where there is always support available at any time of the day and night. She is broadly at liberty to do as she pleases within her own flat. She is free to leave the accommodation but her leaving and returning will always be seen by a member of the supervisory staff simply because of the geography of the property. She is required to reside at that property and thus if she fails to return the police would ordinarily be notified. There is extensive support available to her but it is support for her to take up or not as she pleases. She has a long record of being unable to look after her own accommodation and accordingly staff will enter her flat for the purposes of inspecting, cleaning or repairing. Indeed they will often wait for her to leave in order to do that so as to cause the least possible distress to her. It follows that they have access to her property whenever they think fit. The court had to decide if these arrangements amounted to a deprivation of liberty.
The court held that they did. The question of supervision and control must be viewed in the context of the prescribed condition of residence. Thus whilst she may be free to leave the property as she chooses, she is always subject to state control requiring her return should she be otherwise unwilling to do so. The fact that she generally willingly returns does not of itself negate this point. Again whilst the supervision of her coming and going is not intrusive, it is the fact that all her movements are known and noted. Moreover, while she is free to do as she pleases in the community, there will inevitably be some obligation to restrain or control those movements should they become seriously detrimental to her welfare.
Read the full text of the judgment on Bailii
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