Essex County Council has agreed to pay £45,000 in damages after a 91-year-old was deprived of her liberty in a care home.
The award was made at the Court of Protection after the woman’s son took legal action against the council.
Commenting on the ruling, Stephen Evans, partner at healthcare law adviser Hempsons (pictured), told Care Home Professional: “This report illustrates the fact that it is unlawful to care for people in circumstances amounting to a deprivation of liberty without that being properly authorised. It is possible for claims to be brought.
“However, it is unusual, as the report suggests, for actual damages to be agreed or awarded if the situation the person was in is found to be have been in their best interests all along.
“Here there is no information at all on the background but it is notable that the lady concerned was in a care home and is now living with her son. The suspicion, and it can only be that, must be that this lady should not have been moved to a care home at all or should have returned to living with her son after a short period of respite.
“Care home managers should ensure that they identify residents who may be deprived of their liberty and apply for the proper authorisation from the relevant local authority.”