What is the Court of Protection?
The Court of Protection deals with the decisions and actions which fall under the Mental Capacity Act. If you or someone helping you would like to make an application, you would have to apply to the Court if there is someone who needs permission to make decisions regarding your health, welfare, financial affairs or property.
The Court will make decisions on:
- If you are removing an attorney under your LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney) or removing a deputy.
- If an advance decision or LPA is valid or what their meaning is if there is a disagreement.
- Settling any disputes regarding the use of the safeguards against you.
- If a deprivation of liberty safeguards authorisation has been lawfully granted.
- If there are challenges to an authorisation for the deprivation of liberty safeguards or disputes about their use.
- A final resolution if disagreements cannot be handled differently, such as using an independent mental capacity advocate.
- If an action can be taken on your behalf and if it is appropriate, or if you lack the capacity to take it for yourself.
The Court will also decide whether or not they believe you have the capacity to make a specific decision or if something is in your best interest.
In any case, The Court must always ensure they act in your best interest.
How much does a Court of Protection cost to apply?
There is usually a fee to apply to the Court. There are some circumstances that are dependent upon how much money you have. You can be excused from paying any fees in these cases, and you may be eligible for a fee exemption. If you would like to find out more, you can find the forms to apply with help with fees available on the gov.uk website.
What are the stages of a Court of Protection?
- Stage 1 – Initial Court of Protection Application
The earliest stage of the Court of Protection process requires making an application to the Court by filling out the following forms to become a Deputy:
Form COP1: This form starts the process of becoming a Court of Protection Deputy. It should be sent with £400 if none of the exemptions mentioned earlier apply. You must also submit any additional information for applications for property and affairs, which is the Form COP1A, and the application for personal welfare is called Form COP1B.
Form COP3: This is the form assessing an individual’s capacity and is to be completed by a medical practitioner. The form confirms that the person applying to be a Deputy represents someone who does not have the ability or capacity to make their own decisions.
Form COP4: This is a Deputy declaration and will be filled out by the appointed Deputy.
Form COP9 – This form is for the application to be placed on the fast-track system. This could be for a range of reasons; if the sale or purchase of a property is on the horizon. Sometimes this will be accompanied by a Form COP24 (a witness statement) if any further information is required.
- Stage 2 – Serving Court of Protection Forms To The Relevant Parties
When you have sent the applications to the Court of Protection, they usually take around 2-3 weeks to respond with a completed COP1 form, consisting of the stamp of the Court of Protection. Once you have received that, you will need to tell the person you are representing about the application and serve them these forms:
Form COP14– This is a form you will need to provide to the person you are applying to be a Deputy for; it will serve as a notice explaining the meaning of the deputyship and where the individual can go for advice. You will also be required to complete a Form COP5 which confirms their consent to the deputyship.
Form COP15– This is for anyone else with an interest who is named in the application, e.g. the relatives of the person you are applying to be Deputy for. This serves as a notice alongside a Form COP5 to compete and return to Court.
- Stage 3 – Returning the forms to the Court of Protection
At this stage, the following forms must be sent back to the Court:
- Completed Form COP5s from all respondents and people notified
- A completed Form COP20A which confirms the respondent has been notified
- A completed Form COP20B which confirms that the respondents and people due to be notified have been informed.
Once these forms have been received, the Court will revise and consider the deputyship application.
- Stage 4 – The Issuing of the Court of Protection order
Once the Court of Protection order has been granted, a further form will be provided to the applicant for a security bond to be made with the Deputy Bond Services (DBS). When this has been confirmed, and the Court has been informed that this is in place, they will then stamp and send out the final Court of Protection order to the applicant.
Further from this, a COP14 will be served to the person who requires the deputyship; this will inform them of the deputyship order and will inform them that the Court of Protection has granted the order.
Once everything has been confirmed, and the deputyship is in place, the Deputy can now proceed with their duties and manage their financial or welfare affairs.
- Stage 5 – The Annual Completion of the Office of the Public Guardian Report
Approximately around a month and a half before each year of the Deputy appointment, The Office of the Public Guardian contacts the Deputy to ask for the Office of Public Guardian Report to be completed and returned to them. This report will outline the decisions which have been actioned throughout the year and record the costs, income and capital.
How long does it take for the Court Of Protection to Appoint A Deputy?
The waiting time for the Court of Protection to appoint a duty varies on a case to case bases. The length of time is dependent on the following factors:
- If anyone opposes the application at any point
- The time it will take for the parties to be notified that you have made the initial application
- If anyone in the court requires more information before coming to a final judgement
- If there is any permission required to make an application
In the more straightforward cases, where some of these factors are not included, the entire process takes around 3-4 months minimum, but in some cases can take longer.
Mental Capacity and Court of Protection Solicitors
At Larcomes, our specialist solicitors have the knowledge and expertise to provide expert guidance on all areas of mental capacity, court of protection and lasting powers of attorney.
To find out more about the Mental Capacity Act, making applications to the Court of Protection or any other matters discussed in this article, you can speak to our specialist private client team who will be able to discuss the most appropriate solution for you and your circumstances.
Please give us a call on 023 9244 8100 or make an online enquiry