Judgment related to whether a young woman has the capacity to make decisions in a range of matters including the management of her own affairs.
CMW is an 18-year-old woman with a troubled history, including a recent suicide attempt. She lives in supported living accommodation, and is supervised by the Local Authority and subject to restrictions as to whom she can contact following a Care Order in 2008 and a series of interim COP orders. She has been diagnosed with ADHD, foetal alcohol spectrum disorder and specific difficulties relating to cognition and communication.
The court was satisfied that the medical evidence showed that the functioning of CMW’s mind is impaired. As to CMW’s functional incapacity, it was found that she lacked the capacity to conduct proceedings and manage her own affairs as she could not understand the relevant issues that need to be weighed to make decisions in these matters. The court also found that she lacked the capacity to make decisions relating to her residence, care, and her contact with others because
“she seriously overestimates her own ability to keep herself safe and to control her life and seriously underestimates the consequences for her welfare of independence”.
The court, however, agreed with expert medical opinion that CMW has the capacity to deal with social media and the internet, and engage in sexual relations.
The court scheduled a best interests hearing for the areas in which CMW lacks capacity and authorised the continuation of the Local Authority’s care plan in the interim.
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