Legal Support for Mental Incapacity
Mental incapacity is a person’s inability to make decisions for themself. It may be the result of a brain injury or illness such as dementia. However it comes about, the important thing is that the person is respected and taken care of.
Mental Incapacity - What We Do
The law is very protective of people with mental incapacity. The courts appoint deputies to look after their health and wellbeing, their finances and their property and possessions. It’s a specialist legal area, and one which has at its heart the needs and the rights of people challenged with mental incapacity.
At Gillhams it’s what we do every day. We represent the interests of people with mental incapacity in the Court of Protection which is dedicated to looking after people’s welfare. We advise on the appointment of deputies and on the day-to-day and longer term decisions they make on behalf of the person with mental incapacity. And we make those decisions too; two of our partners are among only 60 lawyers in England and Wales who may be appointed deputies by the Court of Protection.
So we are involved in a wide range of cases. Each begins with the same, important question: is this about mental incapacity? Because not everybody with a mental health issue is classed under the law as having mental incapacity. And it’s only those with mental incapacity that come within the Court of Protection remit.
If you are worried about a friend or family member, ask yourself:
- Can they understand information relevant to a particular decision?
- Can they retain information for long enough to be able to make a decision?
- Can they use or weigh up the information as part of the decision-making process?
- Can they communicate the decision by, for example talking, using sign language, squeezing someone’s hand?
If you’ve answered “no” to one or more of these, it’s likely that the person has mental incapacity and you may need to involve the Court of Protection.
Our Court of Protection Services Include:
- advising on options and process
- applying to the Court of Protection
- representation at court
- putting the court’s decision into practice
- contested applications
- managing disputes
- planning for the future (see Powers of Attorney and Wills)