“The Act provides for a new Court of Protection to make decisions in relation to the property and affairs and healthcare and personal welfare of adults (and children in a few cases) who lack capacity. The Court also has the power to make declarations about whether someone has the capacity to make a particular decision.
The Court has the same powers, rights, privileges and authority in relation to mental capacity matters as the High Court. It is a superior court of record and is able to set precedents (set examples to follow in future cases).
The Court of Protection has the powers to:
decide whether a person has capacity to make a particular decision for themselves;
make declarations, decisions or orders on financial or welfare matters affecting people who lack capacity to make such decisions;
appoint deputies to make decisions for people lacking capacity to make those decisions;
decide whether an LPA or EPA is valid; and
remove deputies or attorneys who fail to carry out their duties, and
hear cases concerning objections to register an LPA or EPA and make decisions about whether or not an LPA or EPA is valid.
Details of the fees charged by the court, and the circumstances in which the fees may be waived or remitted, are available from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
In reaching any decision, the Court must apply the statutory principles set out in the Mental Capacity Act. It must also make sure its decision is in the best interests of the person who lacks capacity.
The President of the Court of Protection is Sir Nicholas Wall, the President of the Family Division who succeeded Sir Mark Potter on 1st April 2010. Sir Andrew Morritt, the Chancellor of the Chancery Division is the Vice President.
The day to day running of the court is the responsibility of the Senior Judge. Denzil Lush (formerly Master of the Court of Protection) has been appointed as Senior Judge.
The President has nominated a number of additional High Court, Circuit and District Judges to hear Court of Protection cases. In addition to the Senior Judge, there are five District Judges who hear cases full time in the Court’s central registry in Archway. The other Judges will hear cases part time in the courts where they are based across England and Wales.
If you need to contact the Court for any reason you can call their enquiry line on 0300 456 4600.”
“Effectively, it has the power of life or death. It can order or prevent abortions, impose treatment for potentially terminal conditions and turn off life-support systems.”