Sam Karim QC and Francesca P. Gardner recently appeared on behalf of the Official Solicitor in a significant decision from the Court of Appeal concerning the tests to be applied in the Court of Protection when assessing a person’s capacity to make decisions as to the use of Internet and social media, where they should reside and consent to sexual relations.
The Court heard appeals by the Official Solicitor on behalf of Miss B, a young woman with a diagnosed learning disability and from the local authority owing duties to Miss B under the Care Act 2014.
The appeals were against the decision of Cobb J in Re: B (Capacity: Social Media: Care and Contact)  EWCOP 3 where the court had determined that inter alia, Miss B had capacity to make decisions as to where she should reside but that she lacked capacity to make decisions about using the Internet and social media and to consent to sexual relations. It was argued on behalf of Miss B by the Official Solicitor that Cobb J had adopted an approach which was too restrictive of Miss B’s freedoms, particularly around her access to the Internet and social media. The local authority argued that Cobb J’s decisions in relation to Miss B’s capacity were correct, save for his conclusion that Miss B has capacity to make decisions as to residence as it meant that the local authority was prevented from supporting and/or protecting Miss B.
The Court of Appeal handed down judgment and its decision is significant for a number of reasons and requires careful consideration from any practitioner in this area.
A discussion of this Judgment and its implications can be found here
The full Judgment can be found here