At Liberty To Cruise

Floyd Porter achieved a successful outcome when he acted for Norman Davies against a local authority which resorted to deprivation of liberty safeguards (DOLS) to prevent Norman’s partner Peggy Ross from joining him on a cruise they had planned together.

In their twenty years together, Norman and Peggy had enjoyed more than thirty luxury cruises, the couple’s favourite pass time. When Peggy was diagnosed with dementia in 2001, Norman cared for her until his own health problems meant he needed to spend time in hospital. The family felt that it would be best for Peggy to move to a care home.

The move went well, everyone was happy with Peggy’s placement, and Norman continued to care for her during weekends when she stayed at his home.

However, when Norman informed Cardiff City Council that he planned to take Peggy on the sixteen-day cruise they had booked together in December 2010, the local authority opposed the couple’s plans to embark on 31 October, arguing that it would be too high risk for Peggy to travel.

A week before the cruise was due to depart, the local authority made an application to the Court of Protection for declarations that to go on the cruise would not be in Peggy’s best interests. At the same time, with Floyd Porter’s help, Norman appealed the standard authorisation, arguing that the local authority had used deprivation of liberty safeguards inappropriately.

The case came before the Court of Protection, in Cardiff on Friday 28 October. We argued that Norman had cared for Peggy for years, and continued to do so at weekends so would be able to look after her and ensure her safety during the cruise.

Medical care would be available on board and the staff already knew Norman and Peggy with their vast experience of cruising. The court was not persuaded by the local authority’s arguments relating to Peggy’s safety, since this could be safeguarded on board.

The Court found that it would be in Peggy’s best interests to go on the cruise. In fact this could, sadly, be the last time that she would have the opportunity to take part in an activity that she has enjoyed over many years.

After a distressing battle, Norman and Peggy were happily able to embark together from Southampton on 31 October.