Ex tempore judgment following an urgent application concerning obstetric care for SM, a 16 year old who is 39 weeks pregnant.
The applicant trust was seeking a ruling that SM lacks capacity to decide on her care, that they can proceed lawfully with their plan to undertake a Caesarian against SM’s wishes and seeking authorisation to deprive SM of her liberty to achieve safe delivery. A key part of the judgment concerns the question of SM’s capacity, which fluctuated when under acute stress. Cobb J notes that it was not inevitable that SM would lose capacity to make the decision but there was a high possibility given the clinical history so, following the pre-2005 case of Re MB), declares accordingly. However, if he is wrong, he would still exercise the court’s powers on the basis of parens patriae jurisdiction because SM is a vulnerable child and at the critical moment her ability to make the relevant decisions may be impaired. 
At  he notes that he attaches greater weight to SM’s wishes, feelings and sense of autonomy than the trust so decides there should be one more attempt at vaginal delivery. A postscript notes the attempt was successful and also notes some ill-informed reporting of the case.
Read the judgment on Bailii
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Case summaries on every Court of Protection case & other relevant decisions with links to the full judgment where available.
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