Applications brought under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 seeking section 15 declarations in relation to the P's capacity to make a range of relevant decisions and various best interests' determinations; and further seeking authority to deprive the P of his liberty at his accommodation and in the community. The applications were granted.
The P is a 44-year old single man; he has a diagnosis of mild learning disability, and acquired brain injury. He also suffers from a bipolar disorder and personality disorder traits. He has lived since 2014, and continues to live, in tenanted supported accommodation in Sunderland. By an application brought under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Sunderland City Council was seeking section 15 declarations in relation to the P's capacity to make a range of relevant decisions, and (subject to the court's determination on capacity) various best interests' determinations; it further sought authority to deprive the P of his liberty at his accommodation and in the community. The court applied the core principles of the MCA 2005, starting with the statutory assumption that the P has capacity unless it is established that he does not (section 1(2) MCA 2005); that he is not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practicable steps to help him to do so have been taken without success (section 1(3) MCA 2005); that he is not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because he makes an unwise decision (section 1(4) MCA 2005).
In the final analysis, and at the conclusion of the oral evidence, the parties were of the same view – namely that the P lacks capacity in all of the areas outlined in this judgment. An expert report from a consultant forensic and clinical psychologist confirmed that no amount of further information would be likely to make the difference to the P's ability to exercise capacitous decision-making and that this lack of capacity was permanent. The court was satisfied that the evidence displaces the presumption of capacity in relation to the P's decision-making on residence, contact, care and in respect of this litigation and was further satisfied that (a) the P is deprived of his liberty in a manner which is imputable to the state, and that (b) the deprivation of liberty is reasonable and proportionate given the P's needs, and therefore the court authorised the deprivation of liberty in accordance with the care plan.
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