Judge grants permission to publish Court of Protection decision following media appeal

A judge has granted the Press Association and The Independent permission to publish details of a Court of Protection case where a £24,000 painting was auctioned-off to pay an elderly man’s care home fees.  

Essex County Council sold the painting Stratford-upon-Avon Sunset by Lucien Pissarro for £24,000.

Judge Anselm Eldergill granted the council permission to sell the 1906 painting because the elderly man could not afford the £400 a month fees.

Eldergill granted an application by the Press Association and The Independent to publish details of the case because it was in the public interest.

He ordered that the man could not be identified and prohibited the publication of any details of his address.

The judge ruled that the council could also sell the man’s house and his other possessions.

The pensioner's son had initially objected to possessions being sold – then changed his mind.

Judge Eldergill had told how the man was moved into a care home after undergoing surgery.

The judge said local authority officials had been appointed to make decisions for the man because he had been found to ''lack capacity''.

He said care home fees had been running at nearly £400 a month and the man was faced with an annual cash shortfall of nearly £15,000.

Judge Eldergill had heard evidence from the man's relatives and local authority officials before deciding how to raise money.

The Court of Protection is part of the High Court and analyses issues involving vulnerable and sick people.

Hearings usually take place in private.

Judge Eldergill ruled that details of the case could be reported after The Independent newspaper and the Press Association news agency argued that coverage would be in the public interest.

The judge said the elderly man should not be identified – and no detail of his address publicised.

But he ruled that Essex County Council could be named and praised staff for the high level of service they had provided to the pensioner.

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