Court of Protection

In English law, the Court of Protection is the body responsible for the financial and personal welfare of those who lack the mental capacity to do so for themselves.

When a person cannot make decisions for themselves due to mental capacity issues, the court intervenes and decides what action to take in the best interests of the person.

The court has the power to enforce many things, including deprivations of liberty even for those over 16 as well as appointing deputies who can act on behalf of the person deemed to lack mental capacity.

What is the role of the Court of Protection?

The court has the ability to deal with matters relating to property, financial welfare, personal welfare and more. Ultimately, the court will make decisions based on individual circumstances to ensure the best outcome is achieved for those most vulnerable.

A list of actions the Court of Protection is responsible for include:

  • Deciding whether or not a person lacks mental capacity to make decisions for themselves
  • Appointing deputies who can act on behalf of the person who lacks mental capacity for a continuous period
  • Granting permission for one-off decisions
  • Dealing with emergency situations or urgent applications where a decision must be made
  • Appointing Lasting Power of Attorney and handling any objections
  • Deciding on the removal of liberty when a person lacks mental capacity

Why do you need Court of Protection?

When someone you know no longer lacks the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves it can be both traumatic and worrying. How will they be able to take care of themselves? Who will act on their behalf? What will the authorities do?

In an ideal world, the vulnerable person will already have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place – someone who is chosen to act on their behalf if they should no longer be able to manage their affairs themselves. However, this is not always the case and there has to be a solution. The Court of Protection provides that solution by assessing an individual’s situation case-by-case.

How do I apply for Court of Protection?

A COP application will usually start with an assessment of the person in question who is said to lack mental capacity; they are usually referred to as the ‘patient’ in court. A COP application has associated costs that your solicitor will talk you through during consultation.

Once the court has confirmed the patient can no longer make valid decisions for themselves, they will analyse the application as a whole and decide whether to issue a court order. The court must be thorough in their findings so may ask to speak to a host of people close to the patient, including direct relatives, carers, colleagues etc.

If an application is successful, the court will appoint a deputy. There are two types: a property and financial affairs deputy and a personal welfare deputy.

If you are looking to become one of these deputies, your local solicitor will advise you on the best plan of action. Let Location Lawyer find a court of protection solicitor best suited to your needs.

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