Manchester City Council Legal Services v LC & Anor, Court of Appeal - Family Division, October 24, 2018, [2018] EWHC 2849 (Fam)

Resolution Date:October 24, 2018
Issuing Organization:Family Division
Actores:Manchester City Council Legal Services v LC & Anor
 
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This judgment was delivered in public. The judge has given leave for this version of the judgment to be published on condition that (irrespective of what is contained in the judgment) in any published version of the judgment the anonymity of the children and members of their family must be strictly preserved. All persons, including representatives of the media, must ensure that this condition is strictly complied with. Failure to do so will be a contempt of court.

Case No: COP12348881

Neutral Citation Number: [2018] EWHC 2849 (Fam)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

FAMILY DIVISION

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 24/10/2018

Before :

THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE HAYDEN

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Between :

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Mr C Hallin (instructed by Manchester City Council Legal Services) for the Appellant

Ms N Kohn (instructed by Irwin Mitchell LLP) for the Respondent

Mr S Burrows (instructed by Stephensons Solicitors LLP)

Hearing date: 24th October 2018

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JudgmentThe Honourable Mr Justice Hayden :

  1. LC is a 23 year old woman. She is referred to in the case papers by anonymised initials, which reflect her unmarried status at the commencement of the proceedings. During the course of the case she married. She has asked me, directly, if she can be referred to in court by her married name. Her marital status is important to her, she is entirely right to make this request. I have respected it. However, the same initials will continue in the formal headings of the documentation not least because to retain them assists in guarding her privacy.

  2. LC has significant learning disabilities which impair her `social and generally adaptive functioning.' In addition to this she has been diagnosed as suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). More broadly, in terms of her physical health, she is fit and well.

  3. It was a challenge for her family, who are present in court today, to care for her, particularly in her adolescence. She eventually found herself in a care home. Like so many others in that situation she recoiled from it and would frequently abscond, in effect `voting with her feet', I suspect to return to her family. But as she reached maturity she began to develop an obsessional interest which was sexual in motivation in relation to men. This it requires to be said, in unambiguous terms, is a feature of her Autism. As such, it should not attract censure of any kind. Her behaviour is characterised, in this context as `socially inappropriate', exhibited when she is out in the community. I do not need to amplify what is meant by that term. To do so adds little to my analysis of the issues and, I am aware, causes LC distress and embarrassment.

  4. Now as long ago as 2013, proceedings were initiated in the Court of Protection because it was felt that LC was at very significant risk of sexual harm if she were permitted unfettered liberty or, in fact, to be unescorted in the community generally. The existence and extent of that threat is well established on the evidence. The Local Authority tried a variety of interventions which were all focussed on improving LC's understanding of how her interpersonal relationships with men could be made safer. This is a facet of the Local Authority's obligations, pursuant to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA), namely to promote a pathway to capacity...

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