The Court of Protection is a special court established by the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
It looks after the interests of people who do not have the mental capacity to make decisions themselves. This may be because, for example, they have an acquired brain injury, a mental health condition, a learning disability or degenerative condition such as dementia.
Role of the Court of Protection
The Court of Protection has a number of decision making roles.
- The Court can decide whether or not a person has the necessary mental capacity to make a decision. These cover a very wide range of decisions including where to reside, what treatment to receive, who to have contact with, whether to get married or whether a person has capacity to consent to sexual relations.
- Where it is agreed (or decided by the court in the case of a dispute) that a person lacks capacity to make certain decisions, but there is a lack of agreement between all those concerned about what is in that person’s best interest, the court will make decisions. Disputed best interest decisions might include where a person should live, how they should be cared for, who they should have contact with (including family members) or whether they should be given contraceptive treatment. Cases involving serious medical treatment such as the withdrawal or withholding of artificial nutrition and hydration or organ donation by a person who lacks capacity to consent, must always be referred to the court. The court hears evidence, often from experts in the relevant fields as well as those involved in the person’s life in order to come to its decisions.
- The Court hears appeals against deprivation of liberty authorisations.
- The Court appoints deputies to act on behalf of people who lack capacity. Deputies are able to makes decisions about someone’s property and financial affairs or health and welfare. The court will decide the extent of the deputy’s powers.
- The Court decides on the validity of Lasting Powers of Attorney and decides cases where objections are raised or there are allegations of abuse - financial or otherwise.