A Practitioner’s Guide to the Court of Protection (Fourth Edition)
By Martin Terrell, Caroline Bielanska, Justin Holmes and Richard Frimston
The third edition of A Practitioner’s Guide to the Court of Protection published in 2009 proved itself to be the vademecum for professionals working with some of the most vulnerable members of society. This 2018 edition, published in April, demonstrates how quickly this field of law has developed since the introduction of the Mental Capacity Act in 2005. In fact, in her Foreword, Judge Hilder references not only the increase in applications made to the Court of Protection each year (in excess of 30,000) but also the complexity of cases. This was illustrated in the case of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, where a best interests decision, in relation to the taking of samples of body fluids or tissues, was required in an incredibly sensitive situation, amidst an investigation into international espionage and the use of chemical nerve agents.
The new Fourth Edition, comprising of 530 pages and sixteen chapters, details the new Court of Protection Rules and Practice Directives introduced on the 1 December 2017. The author provides an indispensable commentary in navigating the consolidated rules which are designed to enable the Court to deal with cases “justly and at a proportionate cost”. The new Case Management Pathways are outlined which demonstrate the Court’s resolve to deal with applications efficiently and economically.
Authored by some of the most distinguished TEPs in their field, the book is anything but a dry exegetical examination on the law surrounding Mental Capacity and Court of Protection Procedure. In fact, the work is to be commended for its ease of use and practical application. An extremely useful chapter outlines the responsibilities of a property and affairs deputy. The level of detail is impressive, even considering the ownership of motor car by P, and it covers everything from registering the vehicle to consideration of any contract arrangements under the Motability Scheme.
The author notes that many professionals are reluctant to include restrictions when drafting LPAs, for fear that the Public Guardian will apply to the Court for severance. The downside is that some professionals are drafting LPAs for ease of registration and rather than use; which is arguably not in the donor’s best interests. Certainly, a thorough grasp of the content of this book should provide professionals with confidence on that front.
With an increasingly mobile population, it is right that the law relating to the international protection of vulnerable adults is considered. An exploration of the nature and extent of the Court’s jurisdiction considering the Hague Convention and Schedule 3 of the MCA is given. This is followed by a useful summary of the main laws that relate to the property and affairs of persons who lack capacity in various foreign jurisdictions.
The book reflects the increasing complexity and challenges faced by busy practitioners who work with vulnerable adults. This is extremely perceptive but perhaps the greatest strength of the Guide is practical insight and detailed examination of case-law that it contains and what defines it at as a must-read for professionals working in this field.