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#askRL – What is the Court of Protection?

29.08.18

In this blog, we explain what the Court of Protection is, and why it matters if you have a disabled child or a loved one with a learning disability.

Gov.uk defines the Court of Protection’s role as follows:

We make decisions on financial or welfare matters for people who can’t make decisions at the time they need to be made (they ‘lack mental capacity’).

Why do I need to know about the Court of Protection?

It is vitally important to protect people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. This could be due to a mental health condition, a severe learning difficulty, a brain injury, a stroke or unconsciousness due to an anaesthetic or sudden accident. The Court of Protection is a system which allows someone to be formally appointed to make decisions for the person with the incapacity. This person is called a Deputy, and is often a close relative or friend. In the case of a disabled child, it would typically be the child’s parent.

If you have a disabled child or family member who lacks mental capacity then you may need to apply to the Court of Protection to be able to manage their financial affairs or make decisions about their health and welfare.

 

What does the Court of Protection actually do?

The Court of Protection has the power to make decisions on behalf of a person who lacks the mental capacity to make their own decisions, or they can appoint a deputy who is given specific powers to make decisions on behalf of that person.  A Court of Protection order will set out the full details about the decisions that can be made.

It has the following powers: 

  • deciding whether someone has the mental capacity to make a particular decision for themselves
  • appointing deputies to make ongoing decisions for people who lack mental capacity
  • giving people permission to make one-off decisions on behalf of someone else who lacks mental capacity
  • handling urgent or emergency applications where a decision must be made on behalf of someone else without delay
  • making decisions about a Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney and considering any objections to their registration
  • considering applications to make statutory wills or gifts
  • making decisions about when someone can be deprived of their liberty under the Mental Capacity Act 2005

 

Making an application – what is involved?

Applying to the Court of Protection isn’t straightforward. There are papers and forms to complete, as well as evidence to support the fact that the individual does not have mental capacity. You also need to know exactly what powers you will need to apply for.  For example, you might only need the power to help your relative to manage their money, or to make decisions about what treatment they receive in hospital.

 

Court of Protection fees

Court of Protection applications usually cost £385 which is the standard application fee. It is possible, in some circumstances, to ask the Court to reduce their fees (this is called a ‘remission’) or in certain circumstances, remove them entirely (this is called an ‘exemption’).  You will need to provide financial evidence to show eligibility for a remission or exemption.

 

What do Court of Protection solicitors do?

Court of Protection solicitors, including our own specialists, can help you navigate the Court of Protection system, helping you with forms and applications which can be complex.

 

How do I contact the Court of Protection?

The Court of Protection is based in London. Most cases are heard by district judges and a senior judge but can sometimes be heard by High Court judges.

Court of Protection
PO Box 70185
First Avenue House
42-49 High Holborn
London
WC1A 9JA

Email: courtofprotectionenquiries@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk

Enquiries 0300 456 4600

Opening hours and facilities can be found here:
https://courttribunalfinder.service.gov.uk/courts/court-of-protection

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