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Case Study: Safeguarding & Best Interests – Protecting Adults At Risk


How Cate Searle and Chloe Scarr helped a client to protect her mother from emotional and financial abuse by her son, through the Court of Protection.

The situation

Mrs M contacted Martin Searle Solicitors in 2012, with concerns about her mother’s wellbeing. Her mother, Mrs P, is a widow in her early 80s, and was diagnosed with dementia in 2011. Her son and daughter assisted her in making Lasting Power of Attorneys in relation to both her Property & Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare, with her children acting jointly. At this time, there were no concerns about Mrs P’s capacity to make these LPAs.

Both adult children had contact with their mother, and Mrs M assisted her mother with online shopping, home maintenance and arranging carers to assist her mother as and when required. Mrs M became concerned about her mother when her brother unexpectedly moved in with Mrs P and his family, and began to make changes. The brother removed photos of Mrs M and her contact details and would not allow Mrs M to see or speak to her mother. He threw things away without asking, including furniture and personal possessions, rearranged the layout of the home and changed the locks so that Mrs M could not access her mother’s home. Mrs P became overwhelmed by the family of four who moved in after she had spent almost two decades living alone. Mrs P became stressed and anxious because her son told her that Mrs M wanted her to go into a care home, which was completely untrue, and would make derogatory remarks about Mrs M to Mrs P. Mrs M was also concerned about her mother’s finances, and evidence later showed that her brother was spending her mother’s money as if it were his own, making no contributions to utility bills or groceries, and withdrawing cash using Mrs P’s debit card for unknown purchases for his family.

Mrs P became more anxious and confused by the situation, and Mrs M alerted Social Services to these safeguarding concerns. Mrs M did not believe that her mother’s best interests were being met by her brother and felt that her mother’s dementia had worsened, so she wanted to know what she could do to protect her mother from harm.

What Martin Searle Solicitors did

The result

We satisfied the Court and Social Services that Mrs P had suffered significant harm due to her son’s actions and that she would be at risk of suffering further harm unless the Court ordered his removal from her home. We also satisfied the Court that Mrs P’s best interests could be met by Mrs M alone, and Social Services stated that any contact Mrs P has with her son must be supervised until further order.

If you need expert advice with regards to Safeguarding Adults at Risk, our specialist Community Care team can help. Contact us to find out more.

Martin Searle Solicitors, 9 Marlborough Place, Brighton, BN1 1UB
T: 01273 609 991

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