fbpx

Court Orders Must Be Obeyed – But Caring Pensioner Was Wrongly Jailed

1st March 2017 By Arman Khosravi

Disobeying court orders is ultimately punishable by imprisonment – but only as a last resort. In the context of a family case, the Court of Appeal has ruled that a woman in her 70s, who honestly believed that she was doing her best for a vulnerable man with dementia, should not have spent seven weeks behind bars.

The woman held a power of attorney in respect of the man, who was in his 80s and lacked capacity to make decisions for himself. She had moved him away from Devon, where he had lived for 50 years and where he had a wide circle of friends. Shortly after a social worker recommended his return to the county, she removed him to the country of his birth, Portugal, where he had since resided in a care home.

She had repeatedly refused to comply with orders requiring her to sign documents authorising his discharge from the Portuguese care home and to arrange his return to Devon. After she failed to comply with the terms of a suspended committal order, a warrant for her arrest was issued and she was held in custody for nearly seven weeks until the Court directed her release. She was only freed after a barrister took up her case, free of charge, and put forward arguments on her behalf.

Giving its reasons for releasing her, and praising the barrister who came to her aid, the Court expressed concern that an elderly lady should have found herself in prison despite being of impeccable character. There was no doubt that she had acted on the basis of her deeply held and sincere beliefs as to where the man’s best interests lay. In finding that her incarceration was premature and that she had been failed by the system, the Court also granted her permission to appeal against a welfare determination that the man should be returned to Devon.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Award That Requires Borrowing Made Into Court Order

17th May, 2024 By

Disagreements between separating couples all too often result in litigation that substantially reduces the assets available to them, as was illustrated by a case that recently reached the High Court. At issue was whether awards made by arbitrators in financial remedy proceedings can be made into court orders even if that would require one of the parties to borrow money. The couple had previously had a relationship lasting a few years before resuming their relationship in 2015. They had two children before separating again in 2019. Following their separation, the...

Inheritance Disputes – Costs Risks Can Be Reduced

15th May, 2024 By

Arguments about what someone promised before their death can lead to significant legal costs. However, if faced with a claim against the estate, there may be steps the beneficiaries or executors can take to reduce the risks, as a recent High Court case illustrated. A man had left a farmhouse and agricultural land in Cornwall to his wife, with whom he had also jointly owned a neighbouring area of land. After his death, one of the couple's daughters and her husband claimed that he had told them he wanted them...

Share Rounding Error Does Not Prevent CGT Relief

13th May, 2024 By

There are often very specific rules that must be complied with in order to claim tax reliefs, but if a small mistake arises, the courts may be able to provide assistance. In a recent case, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) found that an investor was entitled to Entrepreneurs' Relief on the disposal of his shares in a company, despite owning one share fewer than he needed to qualify for it. The investor had agreed to purchase 5 per cent of the shares in the company for £500,000. He wished to own...

Wife Entitled to Maintenance Until Sale of Family Home

10th May, 2024 By

When divorcing couples disagree on how assets should be divided, the courts will seek to arrive at a fair outcome for both parties. In deciding how the proceeds of sale of a former couple's home should be apportioned, the Family Court agreed with the wife that she should receive maintenance payments until the sale took place. The couple had married in 2006. Following a brief separation, they had reconciled for two years before finally separating in 2022. The husband and wife both contended that they should be entitled to about...