Vice President’s judgment on capacity and alcohol dependence

Vice President’s judgment on capacity and alcohol dependence

CategoryNews Author Fenella Morris QC, Peter Mant Date

The Vice President of the Court of Protection, Mr Justice Hayden, has given judgment in an important case concerning the capacity of a man with alcohol dependence to make decisions about his residence and care, in circumstances where the care regime amounted to a deprivation of liberty and was intended to restrict his access to alcohol.

The Vice President’s judgment- reported as London Borough of Tower Hamlets v PB [2020] EWCOP 34- emphasises the importance of not setting too high a test for capacity in issues such as residence and care. In observations that are likely to be applicable generally to cases involving individuals with drug or alcohol dependence, the judge held that (i) the fact PB seriously overestimated his ability to keep his alcohol use under control was not enough to establish a lack of capacity; (ii) not every addict in some degree of denial can be regarded as incapacitous; and (iii) the requirement to be able to understand the “reasonably foreseeable consequences” of a particular decision does not mean that the relevant person must accept the professions’ view that they will not be able to control their drinking.

Fenella Morris QC and Peter Mant appeared on behalf of PB

The full judgment can be found here


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