The Court of Protection – A Brief Overview

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What is the Court of Protection?

The Court of Protection (COP) is a court in England and Wales that can make certain decisions on behalf of those who are deemed to lack capacity to make those decisions for themselves. It can also determine whether someone has or lacks the capacity to make a decision if there is a dispute.

The Court of Protection was established by the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and it is this act that provides the legislation that governs the Court of Protection. There are also other rules and practice directions that practitioners must comply with.  The court is also required to make decisions that impact people’s human rights under the Human Rights Act 1998.

The Court of Protection has jurisdiction to make decisions about Property and Affairs and Personal Health and Welfare, but only for those who are assessed as lacking the capacity to make the relevant decision for themselves.

What can the Court of Protection do?

The Court of Protection can decide whether or not a person is able to make their own decision or decisions about particular aspects of their life. If the court is satisfied that the person is not able to make their own decision, then the court can make this decision on their behalf. These decisions are often referred to as Best Interest decisions, as any decision made by the court, must be made in the persons best interests.

Not every decisions that needs to be made on behalf of someone who lacks capacity needs to be made by the Court of Protection, only certain decisions or when there is a dispute between professionals or family as to what is in the persons best interests.

The person who lacks capacity is known as ‘P’ throughout the Court of Protection proceedings. Although these proceedings are largely open to the public, there are strict rules about reporting and what can/cannot be said due to the sensitive nature of the proceeding.

When there is reasonable belief that P lacks capacity to conduct proceedings themselves, the court will appoint a litigation friend or an Accredited Legal Representative to act on their behalf so that they are properly represented in the proceedings and that their wishes and feelings are known to the court.  

How can we assist?

At Thaliwal & Veja Solicitors, we have an experienced team who represent P, their family members and PPR’s in Health & Welfare proceedings in the Court of Protection. We are contracted by the Legal Aid Agency to provide our services with the benefit of legal aid for those that are eligible.