Westminster City Council v Sykes

Citation: [2014] EWCOP B9

Court of Protection named ‘P’ and authorised a one-month trial period at home for a former politician suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.Mungo Wenban-Smith acted for the Westminster City Council and Parishil Patel acted for Manuela Sykes through her litigation friend in this matter.

The court ruled that Manuela Sykes, an 89-year-old former local politician who suffers from dementia, could leave a nursing home to return to live in her flat, initially for a one-month trial, with a 24 hour care package. This accorded with her strongly expressed wishes. Based on its previous experience of attempting to deliver a domiciliary care package for Ms Sykes, the Council had argued that the risks of the care package breaking down were too great because she would likely revert to assuming that she does not need help and would resent the carers presence, leading to a deterioration in her mental and physical health as had happened previously. But the judge concluded that the risk of harm to her due to the domiciliary care package breaking down and being returned to residential care was outweighed by the fact that her life was drawing to a close, spending the last months of her life free in her own home was worth having and, if a trial was not attempted now, the reality was that she would never again have the opportunity to live in her own home and she would live out what remains of her life in an institution (which she did not want, involved depriving her of her liberty and which made her sufficiently unhappy that she at times talked about ending things herself).

Unusually, District Judge Eldergill also ruled that Miss Sykes could be named, taking into account her wish to be identified and her former roles as politician and campaigner, whereas in the vast majority of Court of Protection cases ‘P’ remains anonymous to protect their privacy.

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