What is the Court of Protection?

The Court of Protection has been described as one of Britain’s ‘most secretive courts’ and Court of Protection guidance can sometimes seem confusing and overwhelming, dealing with complicated and sensitive matters. In this guide, we’ll look at what Court of Protection is, how best to use it and how to make the most of the Court of Protection guidance you’re offered.

What is the Court of Protection?

The Court of Protection is a specialist court with power to make decisions about the assets and personal welfare of those who are unable to make decisions themselves. Created under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the Court of Protection is responsible for determining disputes regarding lasting power of attorney, and deciding disputes concerning the assets or welfare of an individual not able to makes their own decisions..

In April 2008, the Court of Protection dealt with 42 cases. In April 2012, they had 582 cases – and that number is set to rise. People are becoming more aware of their loved one’s rights when it comes to the Court of Protection and Lasting Power of Attorney – and rightly what is lawfully allowed is being explored for the benefit of those involved.

Lasting Power of Attorney Applications

Applying for a lasting power of attorney is the first step – this involves allowing someone else to take decisions based on your day-to-day needs. Without lasting power of attorney, all small choices made on behalf of someone would have to go through the Court of Protection – something which logistically would be almost impossible.

For bigger decisions, or steps which require greater authorisation, it is always favourable to instruct a solicitor to make an application to the Court of Protection on your behalf. Solicitors will acknowledge the fact that the issues are sensitive and life changing, and will have experience in the legal process regarding how and when to apply.

Initially, you may need permission to apply to the court. The person involved, or the person appointed under lasting power of attorney has permission to apply. There is a cost of £400 to apply which needs to be settled at the time of the application – however if cases are urgent in nature there is a fast track process which can guarantee a response within 24 hours.

Court of protection
Pic: Keith Waldegrave

You can download the forms here to apply.

There are a number of issues that Court of Protection Guidance looks at – here are a few of the things they make a decision about:

–        Whether a person has a capacity to make a certain decision

–        The appointment of deputies

–        The validity of lasting power of attorney

–        Whether whatever decision is being made is in that person’s best interests

–        Whether a person is being deprived of their liberty

For more information about Lasting Power of Attorney or the Court of Protection, contact us today. Burt Brill & Cardens are experts at sensitive legal cases, and will be able to advise you on the most appropriate next steps.

Find out more about family law and protecting older people.