This week we are looking at how human rights helps people with mental health issues.
This is a very recent case that highlights the importance of Article 8, the right to a private and family life, in protecting vulnerable people looked after by the state.
Perry Clarke was a 27-year-old man who suffered from epilepsy, mental health difficulties and behavioural challenges. Between 2011 and 2013, Clarke had been provided with supported living care by the London Borough of Enfield. In 2013, a new local authority became responsible for his care. The new local authority decided Mr Clarke no longer needed a specialist placement because a social worker had assessed his needs as requiring a non-specialist placement. The new care package cost £357 per week as compared to the £1,300 per week for the old package. It required Mr Clarke to move from his existing local authority care home, where he had lived for four years, to a new care home.
The judge said that the new local authority had failed to understand and address Mr Clarke’s medical and support needs, including 24 hour care in circumstances “in which seizures, including sleep related seizures are unpredictable and cannot be pre-determined.” The local authority had breached Mr Clarke’s right to a home life. The court overturned the council’s decision.
The case is important because it shows that ‘home’ life can mean a home provided by the state, and is protected just as much as someone’s private family home.