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Here you will find the answers to many of the most common Court of Protection questions
The Court of Protection is the Court in England and Wales that has authority to determine issues relating to a person’s capacity. Where it is determined that a person lacks capacity to make a particular decision, then the Court of Protection has jurisdiction to make a decision or decisions for that person, or alternatively, to appoint a deputy as a decision-maker on an ongoing basis.
The Court of Protection is responsible for ensuring that decisions are made in the best interests of the person who lacks capacity. The Court of Protection has the power to make a wide range of decisions, including:
There is a formal application process for requesting that the Court considers any issue relating to mental capacity. This varies depending on the particular issue that the Court is being asked to decide. At Price Slater Gawne we have experience of all types of applications to the Court of Protection and are happy to discuss your particular needs with you.
If it’s not an emergency, the process of applying for a Deputyship Order to the Court of Protection can take up to six months.
Anybody over the age of 18 can potentially act as a deputy. The Court of Protection deputy can be either a professional deputy, such as a solicitor or an accountant, or a lay deputy, such as a family member or a friend. The individual must be over 18 years old and have the necessary skills and experience to carry out the role. The individual must also undergo a thorough assessment process, which includes a criminal record check and a financial assessment, provide references and complete a training programme before being appointed as a deputy. In order to be a property and financial affairs deputy, the person appointed usually cannot previously have been declared bankrupt. Certain people should be notified of the application to appoint a deputy, including the person to whom it relates, and they will then have opportunity to raise any objections to the proposed appointment.
Yes, the Court can appoint more than one person to act as a person’s deputy. This can either be on a joint and several basis, where the deputies can make decisions both collectively and individually, or a joint appointment where the deputies must make decisions together and cannot act separately. The distinction is an important one to understand when making an application, or considering the decision-making authority of deputies.
If you are appointed as deputy then the Court has given you authority to make decisions on behalf of a person who lacks capacity. The extent and range of your authority will be set out in the Court order, and you must also comply with the principles set out in the Mental Capacity Act
The application process for an uncontested deputy application can take several months although it is possible to expedite this in certain circumstances. Where there is a contested application then the process is likely to take longer and will depend on the issues that are in dispute between the parties. Ultimately, the Court will need to be satisfied that any decision it makes regarding the appointment of a deputy is in the best interests of the person who lacks capacity.
Please see our Can I change my appointed deputy? page for a detailed answer to this question.
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