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High Court decides case on capacity for contact and limits of the inherent jurisdiction

23rd August 2023

Pravin Fernando represented a County Council before the High Court in a long running case concerning capacity for contact with family members and the application of the inherent jurisdiction. The case involved a 30-year-old woman with Down’s Syndrome and moderate learning difficulties who was refusing to meet her parents and wider family. The applicant considered that P lacked capacity to make decisions regarding contact and that she was susceptible to undue influence. The applicant also sought an order under the inherent jurisdiction in relation to supporting contact between P and her family if the court concluded that P retained capacity for contact. Cobb J determined that P did retain such capacity and that the conditions required for invoking the inherent jurisdiction were not met.  The judgment importantly clarified the applicable limits of the inherent jurisdiction in cases involving vulnerable adults.

Rhys Hadden had also previously acted for the County Council.

Re RK (Capacity: Contact: Inherent Jurisdiction) [2023] EWCOP 37 judgment available here.

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