THE HEALTH PROTECTION (CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTION) REGULATIONS CONSIDERED BY THE COURT

The  Health Protection (Coronavirus Restriction) Regulations 2020  were considered by Mrs Justice Lieven in VE v AO & Ors [2020] EWCOP 23. This case also shows that the courts can determine that it is in the best interests of a person to leave a residential home to be with their family, in very specific (and tragic) circumstances. 

THE CASE BEING CONSIDERED

The judge was dealing with an application that an elderly mother be allowed to leave a care home to live with her daughter and her family.   The essential question was whether the mother be allowed to leave the care home to be allowed to die with her relatives around her, the mother being terminally ill.  The judge allowed the mother to leave and to

“I start with the basic proposition that most people would strongly wish to die with their family around them. I entirely agree with what Hedley J said in DU that the court should seek to ensure circumstances of P’s imminent death that are as peaceful and dignified as possible. Given the Covid 19 pandemic, the need to minimise the spread of the virus and the current Government guidance if AO were to stay at TO, then the most contact that she would be likely to have would be one short visit from one family member at or around the time of her death.”

THE REGULATIONS

In relation to the Regulations the judge observed.

“It was necessary to consider the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restriction) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/350) in order to ensure that in allowing VE or a family member to collect AO from the care home I was not inadvertently allowing a breach of the Regulations. Regulation 6(1) prohibits any person from leaving home without a reasonable excuse. Regulation 6(2) lists, apparently non-exhaustively, matters that would amount to a “reasonable excuse”. At regulation 6(2)(d) these include providing care or assistance to a vulnerable person. For a family member to collect AO from TO is to provide assistance to a vulnerable person and thus falls within that sub-regulation. It would in any event also accord with the order of the court. I therefore made the order sought so that AO could move on the evening of Monday 20 April 2020″

 

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