Section 14 – Removal orders
21.This section deals with applications to the sheriff for removal orders, which allow the removal of an adult at risk to a specified place. Such orders are effective for a maximum period of 7 days. The council can also take such steps during that period as the council thinks reasonable in order to prevent the adult from suffering harm. The application for the removal order must be made by the council, but the council may choose to nominate another person (e.g. someone from one of the co-operating public bodies) to actually move the adult at risk. This may be important if, for example, the nominated person is more familiar to the adult at risk concerned than the council officer. The removal must be made within 72 hours of the order being made.
Section 15 – Criteria for granting removal order
22.This section specifies that a sheriff may only grant a removal order if satisfied that the person for whom the order is sought is an adult at risk and that person is likely to be seriously harmed if he or she is not moved. In addition, the sheriff must be satisfied that the place to which the adult at risk is to be moved, in pursuance of the order, is available and suitable.
23.Subsection (2) allows the sheriff to specify in the removal order whether a named individual can have contact with the adult at risk during the period of the removal order, and whether this should be subject to specified conditions. Before including such requirements, subsection (3) states that the sheriff must have regard to representations from the council and any relevant representations from the subject of the order (the adult at risk), anyone who wishes to have contact with the adult at risk or any other person who has an interest in the adult at risk’s well-being or property.
24.However, a sheriff can decide to disapply the provisions contained within subsection (3) in relation to representations if he or she can be satisfied that doing so will protect an adult at risk from serious harm or will not prejudice any person affected by the disapplication (see section 41(2), Applications: procedure).
Section 16 – Right to move adult at risk
25.This section gives the council officer the right to enter any place to remove a person from that place in accordance with a removal order.
Section 17 – Variation or recall of removal order
26.This section allows the sheriff to vary or recall a removal order. Applications for variation or recall can only be made by the subject of the removal order, or anyone claiming an interest in his or her well-being or property, or by the council. Variation or recall can only be done where the sheriff is satisfied that the circumstances in respect of which the removal order (or subsequent variation order) was granted have changed. However, the variation cannot permit the council to do anything beyond 7 days after the adult is first moved. Where an order is recalled, the sheriff can direct the council to return the person to the place he or she was removed from, or to any other place which the sheriff, having considered the adult’s wishes, may specify.
Section 18 – Protection of moved person’s property
27.This section requires a council which has secured a removal order in respect of an adult at risk to take reasonable steps to prevent any property owned or controlled by the removed person being lost or damaged for the duration of the removal order, where no other arrangements to protect such property have been, or are being, made. A council officer may enter any place where the council believes that property belonging to the adult at risk is contained in order to carry out his or her duty under this section. A council which moves property must return any property to the adult concerned as soon as is reasonably practicable after the removal order ceases to have effect. The council is not entitled to recover expenses incurred. “Property owned or controlled” can include pets.