26 February 2016
What is the Court of Protection?
Perhaps the first question to ask is what is a deputy?
Deputies are appointed by the Court of Protection (COP) to manage the property and affairs and/or personal welfare of those adults who lack capacity to make certain decisions for themselves.
If a person has not appointed an attorney by a registered Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), or if they don’t have the mental capacity to make an LPA, there might be a need for the COP to appoint a deputy.
How is the deputy appointed?
If a person needs certain decisions made on their behalf but has not made an LPA or is unable to make one, then you or someone else for and on their behalf will need to apply to the COP. A deputy order is the order given to the court-appointed deputy which sets out their powers as a deputy. If appointed as a deputy for property & financial affairs, the powers may include receiving income, such as benefit payments, retirement pension, occupational pension or interest in dividends earned on investments for and on behalf of the person lacking capacity. The order may also authorise the deputy to receive capital and to spend capital appropriately on behalf of the person lacking capacity. If appointed as a deputy for health & welfare issues, the order may authorise the deputy to make decisions about the care or medical treatment that the person lacking capacity receives.
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is responsible for the supervision of court appointed deputies.
The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 provides the legal framework to protect vulnerable people who may not be able to make all their own decisions. The act covers major decisions about property & financial affairs as well as health & welfare issues. When making decisions, deputies must have regard to the MCA’s code of practice which provides guidance for people who work with and or care for adults who lack capacity. The code also describes the responsibilities of deputies when acting for or making decisions with or on behalf of individuals who lack capacity.