Man concerned about mother’s care embroiled in court of protection case
A man concerned about the way his mentally-ill mother is being looked after in hospital is embroiled in litigation in a specialist court after a judge imposed limits on what he could tell journalists at a private hearing conducted over the telephone.
Mrs Justice Lieven placed restrictions on what could be reported about the case after bosses at the NHS foundation trust with responsibility for the woman’s care became concerned that a story would be published and made an emergency application.
The judge heard evidence at an out-of-hours hearing in the Court of Protection, where issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions are considered, on the evening of January 29.
She said the trust involved, the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, which is based in Southampton, Hampshire, could be named in media reports of the case.
But she said the man’s mother, a middle-aged woman with long-standing and complex mental health problems, could not be identified.
The judge also said specific detail of the man’s mother’s condition could not be revealed and said the name of the unit where she is being cared for could not be reported.
Mrs Justice Lieven said the case should be fully analysed at another public hearing at which everyone involved could put their case.
Another judge has now started to examine evidence.
Mrs Justice Gwynneth Knowles oversaw a public hearing in London on Tuesday when she heard from lawyers representing the trust, the man, his mother and Associated Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Mail.
Lawyers explained the scope of Mrs Justice Lieven’s order, and gave detail of the January 29 telephone application, during Tuesday’s hearing.
Mrs Justice Knowles was told that an issue at the centre of the case related to the man’s mother’s mental capacity to make decisions as to what information about her should be made public.
Lawyers said a specialist was expected to assess her mental capacity prior to any trial.
Mrs Justice Knowles said reporting restrictions would stay in place pending final decisions.
A further hearing is due to take place on Friday.
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