Consent, the Media, and the Court of Protection: Simon Burrows in Challenging High Profile Case

Consent, the Media, and the Court of Protection: Simon Burrows in Challenging High Profile Case

Mr Justice Hayden has handed down the only public judgment so far in a case that has been ongoing for 5 years, concerning a young woman whose sex-life had attracted the interest of the national media. LC suffers from autism and learning disability. She has been found to lack capacity to make decisions about her residence and care, and her contact with others, particularly men. She does have the capacity to consent to sexual relations, to choose a method of contraception, and to marry. The tension between these declarations led Manchester City Council- with the approval of the Court of Protection- to devise a care plan allowing LC to choose sexual partners even though she remained living much of the time with her husband. This led to detailed and lurid details of her sex life being publicised in the media, and commented upon more widely. Of particular interest was the number of encounters detailed and the fact that they were men of Asian origins. This led The Times to quite a reference to LC as having been “pimped out”. Mr Justice Hayden, sitting on the case for the first time, conducted a public hearing (with counsel robed), with full attendance from the press. The Judgment demonstrates the difficult balance that has to be struck in a case such as this- protecting a vulnerable adult from abuse on the one hand, whilst enabling her to enjoy her own sex life on the other. The hearing and judgment provides a welcome insight into the work of the Court, and the difficult and momentous nature of the decisions it has to make.

 

Simon Burrows was instructed by Stephensons LLP for LC’s husband.

 

https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCOP/2018/30.html

 

 

The case is reported as Manchester City Council Legal Services v LC and KR [2018] EWCOP 30

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