The rules governing coverage of the Court of Protection have placed strict restrictions on the media’s ability to report the cases heard. This has lead to the Court of Protection being described as a “secret court”. In actual fact the Court of Protection is a Superior Court created under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. It is there to protect the finances and personal welfare of people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
Below are the answers to questions we are frequently asked about the Court of Protection. If you have a question not included here, or you require further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact us. We offer initial advice free of charge and without obligation from one of our specialist solicitors. You can call us on 01642 252 828 or leave us a message and we will get back to you.
What is the Court of Protection?
It is a court based in London that looks after the property, finances and personal welfare of people who are unable to make decisions for themselves. This may be due to the person having lost capacity due to a serious injury or a degenerative disease such as dementia.
When might I apply to the Court of Protection?
If a person has not made a Power of Attorney and is incapable of looking after their affairs or making decisions themselves then it is necessary to apply for a court order if they have assets which need dealing with. The court makes a Deputy Order authorising someone to act as a “Deputy” on that person’s behalf.
Who can be appointed as a Deputy?
A Deputy is usually a family member or close friend but can also be a professional such as a solicitor or an accountant. The application requires various forms to be completed and medical evidence must be submitted to establish the lack of capacity. The proposed Deputy is thoroughly checked to make sure that they are a suitable person to be appointed. Finally, the court requires detailed and extensive information regarding the finances of the person who is incapable.
It can be quite daunting and overwhelming to be in this situation and we can provide support and guidance to a family member wishing to apply to be a Deputy. Alternatively, if there is no family member able to act as a Deputy then we are able to act as a professional Deputy instead.
What type of decisions can the Court of Protection make?
Under the Mental Capacity Act the Court has power to:
- Make decisions about the personal welfare or property and affairs of people who lack capacity to make such decisions themselves.
- Make declarations about a person’s capacity to make a decision if the matter of whether or not they can make a decision cannot be resolved informally.
- Make decisions in relation to serious medical treatment cases which relate to providing, withdrawing or withholding treatment to a person who lacks capacity.
- Appoint a Deputy to make on-going decisions on behalf of a person who lacks capacity in relation to either that person’s personal welfare or property and affairs.
- Make decisions about a Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney including whether the Power is valid, objections to registration, scope of Attorney powers and removal of Attorney powers.
How do I make an application to the Court of Protection?
At Macks we have experienced solicitors who can prepare all the required documentation for the initial application. Whilst the Court of Protection is based in London, the vast majority of applications do not require a court hearing.
The procedure usually takes four to five months and there is a Court application fee of £400. Additional fees are charged for a medical report, Deputy appointment fee and an annual Deputy supervision fee. The Deputy must also take out a “Security Bond” and the amount of the bond is set by the Court at approximately £200 per annum.
How can we help?
At Macks Solicitors we can provide specialist advice on all Court of Protection matters.
You can find a brief description of some of the legal terms you may encounter relating to the Court of Protection in our glossary of legal terms.