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Specialist Court of Protection solicitors

View profile for Sophie Maloney
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Court of Protection decides that man with irreversible stoma has the right to choose to die

At Stephensons our specialist Court of Protection solicitors deal with all contentious health and welfare related cases including disputes surrounding mental capacity and best interests as well as disputed property and affairs matters.

Mental capacity disputes

Mental capacity disputes are disputes about whether an adult with a mental impairment, such as dementia, learning disability or brain injury, lacks the ability to make decisions about themselves, including about their own health and welfare. Mental capacity assessments are usually undertaken by doctors or social workers, and where there is a dispute, applications can be made to the Court of Protection, which is something that we can assist with.

Best interest disputes

Best interests disputes often arise when somebody has been confirmed to lack mental capacity to make decisions for themselves but their loved ones do not agree that the decisions made for them are in their best interests. These disputes can include:

Disputes about where a person should live – for example whether it is in someone’s best interests to move to a care home or receive a care package in their own home.

Disputes about who a person should have contact with – for example someone may have a disability and be vulnerable to exploitation, or there could be safeguarding concerns or risks posed by family members.

Disputes about medical treatment – for example whether a disabled adult should undergo surgery where they lack capacity to provide informed consent, removal of life sustaining treatment where someone is unconscious or whether they should have the covid-19 vaccination.

Decisions about access to the internet and social media – This is now a common issue in the Court of Protection in situations where disabled adults are putting themselves at risk online and lack mental capacity. A level of supervision and restrictions are often put in place and authorised by the court in their best interests.

Deprivation of liberty issues in the context of social care – This includes challenges to Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards authorisations where someone has been deprived of their liberty by virtue of their care arrangements, for example if they are supervised and not able to decide to leave a care home with locked doors. They may be objecting to the placement and asking to go home, or the restrictions may not be in their best interests. Non-means tested legal may available for these cases if a merits test is met.

The team also provides advice and assistance prior to the issue of Court of Protection proceedings, including representation at best interest meetings which are often arranged by public bodies, such as adult social services, to try to reach agreement with family members. Public funding is available for these cases for the disabled adults and their family members, subject to eligibility.

Disputed property and affairs

Our Court of Protection team also deal with all disputed property and affairs cases in the Court of Protection. These cases can include:

  • Removal of an attorney appointed under a lasting power of attorney. For example, due to the allegation that the donor did not have mental capacity to make the lasting power of attorney at the time making it invalid, or that they have not been acting in the donor’s best interests.
  • Contested deputy appointments.
  • Statutory Will applications that become disputed.
  • Specific applications in the Court of Protection for a decision about what should happen to a vulnerable adult’s property, estate, or financial affairs.

Community care work

Our team also help with issues relating to community care including:

  • Challenges to the failure to assess a person’s care needs.
  • Cuts to care packages.
  • Advice on continuing healthcare funding.

Non contentious Court of Protection cases

We work alongside our colleagues in the firm’s Wills and Probate team who also deal with non-contentious Court of Protection matters such as:

  • Non-contentious applications for lasting powers of attorney or deputyships.
  • Acting as deputy to manage the finances of someone who lacks capacity to do so.

If you or a loved on require the advice or assistance from our specialist Court of Protection team in relation to any of the above matters, please call our team today on 01616 966 229 to discuss your issue and the options that may be available to you.

Related case study

An end-of-life decision in the Court of Protection