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Health and welfare decisions

If a person lacks capacity to make certain decisions, then the decision has to be taken by someone else on their behalf in their best interests.

Generally this is done informally by individuals who are involved in the person’s care (for example family members, care staff and/or medical professionals). However, if there is a dispute or a decision is particularly complex, the matter can be referred to the Court of Protection.

The Court of Protection has the power to make decisions about a person’s and health and welfare if they do not have the capacity to make decisions themselves.

If you disagree with a decision being made about a family member or friend, you may want to seek your own legal representation in front of the Court of Protection.

Clients often seek our help because they are confused about who can make decisions for them or their loved one. Sometimes they do not know how to challenge a decision they do not agree with.

When these decisions are about a person’s ‘health and welfare’ - where they should live, who they should have contact with and what care they should receive, we can help.

This can be a difficult time for the person at the centre of the decision and for their family members. Our specialist solicitors have experience in acting for vulnerable individuals and their family members. We offer sympathetic and practical advice and can guide you through this difficult time.

Case examples

For example we helped Sue* whose son, John*, was living in accommodation that she thought was unsuitable for him. Sue asked us to represent her at court. We asked the Court of Protection to order that John should be moved to somewhere closer to his parents. The Court agreed and John was moved to a more suitable home.

We asked the Court of Protection to determine whether Mark* had the capacity to start a sexual relationship with his girlfriend. We asked a medical professional to assess his capacity. The doctor concluded that Mark had the capacity to make this decision for himself.

A client we represented wanted more independence. We explained her concerns and the court agreed she should be allowed to go out on her own sometimes even though the Local Authority thought this might be a bit risky.

*Names have been changed to protect identity.