Tyson had an acquired brain injury and resided in a care home. Tyson regularly asked to see his wife who was in a different care home and who was unable to visit by herself.

Tyson was on a DOLS and an Advocate was appointed RPR to Tyson.

The Advocate contacted the DOLs team, specifically the BIA appointed to the case, to raise concerns that the unwanted separation and lack of contact was a breach of Article 8 of the human rights act (Right to a private and family life)  and advised that the situation was impacting adversely on Tyson’s “wellbeing” - Specifically his mental health and emotional wellbeing. His “domestic, family and personal domains” were neglected.  (Care act – Wellbeing principles.)

As a result, a new condition was placed on the DOLs to outline that the managing authority were to facilitate regular contact for Tyson with his wife, and visits began.

Tyson presented as happy that he was able to see his wife . When Tyson asked to see his wife (as he did regularly) staff could now remind him of when he would next be seeing her.

Tyson had someone to speak on his behalf and to link up his wishes with his legal rights as below:Article 8 human Right Act (Right to a private and family life)Areas of wellbeing addressed (CARE ACT)

  • physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing

  • control by the individual over their day-to-day life

  • social wellbeing

  • domestic, family and personal domains

The advocate made several calls to different professional initially and highlighted the matter both as a tragic personal position to be in for the client, having adverse effect on several areas of wellbeing. Also in legal terms, the Advocate highlighted it was a breach of human rights. Although the Advocate looked into all options for addressing the issue, attempts to resolve it without legal proceedings may have made the process shorter and less costly to the client.  As a condition has been put on the DOLS for contact to be facilitated, the RPR can now check on a monthly basis that the contact is taking place and address the issue further on behalf of Tyson if needed. The Advocate had also taken initial legal advice on the issue (in case initial attempts to resolve the issue did not solve the matter)

An application could have been made under S16 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for the court to consider the issue of contact and how this may be facilitated (i.e. a ‘best interests’ issue for court scrutiny) which would be subject to means tested legal aid funding. If Tyson had more than £3000 in money or assets (which he likely did) then he would be liable to pay his legal costs whilst his private funds remained above that amount.

There were initially no conditions on the DOLS about contact with family. However, now that contact with his wife is outlined on the DOLS, if the contact arrangements are neglected in the future, another option would be to approach the issue in terms of the conditions of the DOLS – as a S21A application. This would allow the court to consider whether arrangements are least restrictive or whether the conditions are being met adequately. If this is needed in the future for Tyson, it would be a non means tested legal aid funded court application.