Manchester City Council –v- G, E & F [2011] EWCA Civ 939

Posted on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

E, born in September 1990 suffered from tuberous sclerosis with associated physical problems and serious learning difficulties. He had been permanently accommodated with F since 1999. G was his older sister. The local authority removed E from F’s care in April 2009 and informed her in June that he would not be returned. G filed an application with the Court of Protection in November 2009. The City Council took the position that its removal of E was lawful, only abandoning its stance on the first day of the main hearing. Rejecting arguments that a costs order would reduce the City Council’s care budget and that mistakes were justifiable because the legislation was new and complex, Baker J ruled that E had been wrongfully deprived of his liberty and was satisfied that the local authority’s “blatant disregard of the processes of the M[ental] C[apacity] A[ct] and their obligation to respect E’s rights under the ECHR amount to misconduct which justifies departing from the general rule” that there should be no order for costs under Rule 157 of the Court of Protection Rules. He awarded costs on the indemnity basis up until the point where the issue of deprivation of liberty was conceded. He thereafter awarded G, E and F one third of their costs on the standard basis on the grounds that the investigatory process would have been considerably shorter but for the Appellant’s conduct. The Court of Appeal upheld his reasoning in all respects.

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