The Court of Protection has ruled that it is in the best interests of a man with severe learning difficulties to have a vasectomy to prevent him from having anymore children.
The Court heard that the 36 year old man has a mental age of between six and nine years old and already has a young son. The birth of his son in 2010 put a huge strain on his relationship with his long term partner who also has learning difficulties. The Court ruled that if the couple were to have another child it would result in psychological distress to both and the breakdown of their relationship, with the child ending up in care.
This ruling is unprecedented, with the last application for sterilisation of a man with learning difficulties being refused in 1999. The Court ruled that in this instance, it is important to have the relationship between the man and his partner stabilised and that it is in his best interests to have his independence protected and nurtured, which means preventing him fathering anymore children.
The Court has warned that this ruling should not be seen as a ‘green light’ for other applications. This case has been described as ‘truly exceptional’ and the Court has stressed that they do not take decisions over permitting the lifelong removal of a person’s fertility lightly.
Our expert Solicitors are experienced in Powers of Attorney & Court of Protection issues. Decisions over sterilisation are among the many decisions which you can ask the Court of Protection to make on behalf of a mentally incapable person. Applications to the Court in general must show that the decision which you are asking the Court to make would be in the ‘best interests’ of that person. This means that you must set out your reasons why you believe that it is in their best interests and also show that steps have been taken to help the person make that decision for themselves, without success. Examples of common applications to the Court include decisions relating to making a will for the person, selling their property and care home arrangements.
If you are considering making an application to the Court of Protection and would like expert legal advice, call the Inheritance & Welfare Lawyers at Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9056 or contact us online and we will call you.
By Inheritance & Welfare Executive Adele Holmes.
Slater and Gordon are a national law firm with offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Merseyside, Bristol, Newcastle, Halifax, Wakefield, Derby, Cambridge & meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire.