Re VE [2016] EWCOP 16 (Charles J)

Article 5 – deprivation of liberty  Summary

In this case, a friend of VE’s was appointed as her Rule 3A  representative. However, it became apparent during the course of the hearing that local authorities  had experience of family members and friends finding it difficult to understand what their role as a Rule 3A representative involved. Charles J took the opportunity to provide an explanation for family members or friends appointed as Rule 3A representatives. Key responsibilities for Rule 3A representatives include:

  • Weighing the pros and cons of P’s care and support package and comparing it with other available options;
  • Considering whether any of the restrictions are unnecessary, inappropriate or should be changed;
  • Informing the court about what P has said, and P’s attitude towards, the care and support package;
  • Checking from time to time that the care and support package is being properly implemented.

Charles J summarised the role in this way:

In short, the court is asking you, as someone who knows the position on the ground, to consider whether from the perspective of P’s best interests you agree or do not agree that the Court should authorise P’s package of care and support.

The explanatory note also contains a step-by-step guide for dealing with court documentation and for completing a witness statement in form COP 24.

Comment

We hope that Charles J’s explanatory note will help family members and friends better understand the role of a Rule 3A representative. Local authorities also have a responsibility to assist family members and friends during the course of an application and should, where appropriate, refer family members and friends to independent legal representatives.