What is Court of Protection

A person may lose the mental capacity to manage their own affairs. This could be because they have been involved in a car crash and have a brain injury, or because they have a condition such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, or because they have a birth injury, such as cerebral palsy. 

Once a person has lost capacity their attorney can step in and manage things for them. However, sometimes a person hasn’t appointed an attorney before they lose capacity, or perhaps their attorney is no longer able to act. In that situation a deputy has to be appointed. A deputy is very similar to an attorney, but is appointed by the Court to look after the affairs of the person who has lost capacity (an attorney is appointed by the person needing one).

The Court of Protection is a special section of the Court which deals with applications relating to anyone who does not have the mental capacity to manage their affairs for themselves. So, if you wish to apply to become a deputy for someone, you must make an application to the Court of Protection.  The Court works hand in hand with the Office of the Public Guardian. This is a government office which has been set up to oversee the general management of the affairs of people lacking capacity. Therefore, once you are appointed as deputy for someone, your actions as deputy will be monitored by the Office of the Public Guardian. They generally require a deputy to fill in a return every year to say how they have spent the money of the person lacking capacity, and what decisions have been taken on that person’s behalf.

The purpose of the Office of the Public Guardian and the Court of Protection is to protect vulnerable people, make sure their affairs are properly looked after and that no-one takes advantage of the situation they are in.


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Karen Pratt Partner
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