The new Court of Protection Rules

View profile for Kelly Knight
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Over the last few months the Court of Protection Rules has seen some changes with the implementation of the Court of Protection (Amendment) Rules 2015. The first part came into effect on the 6 April this year and the second, larger part and main provisions came into effect on 1 July 2015. 

The Rules govern the practice and procedure of the Court of Protection, the Court with the jurisdiction to make decisions for individuals (often referred to as ‘P’) who lack the necessary mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

The amendments to the Rules reflect the need for greater flexibility towards involving P in proceedings as well as dealing with the challenges on the Court’s time and resources following the decision in  P v. Cheshire West and Chester Council and another [2014] UKSC 19.

Some of the key amendments are:

  • Extension of the responsibility to fulfil the ‘overriding objective’

Rule 4 has been amended to reinforce the duty of all parties to work together to further the ‘overriding objective’ of dealing with cases justly in line with the principles in the Mental Capacity Act 2005.  Failure to cooperate and to be full and frank in the disclosure of information and evidence to the Court will have costs implications.

  • Involving P in the decision-making process

There is now a clear obligation to provide the Court with as much information as possible about P’s wishes and feelings so that the Court can take account of them when reaching its decision. The Court must now also consider whether it should make directions to provide for P to participate in the proceedings and consider how P’s interests should be represented if they cannot represent themselves or need to be supported in that process.

  • New documentation

The revised Rules also introduce new documentation designed to be easier to complete and more relevant to the purpose for which the Courts involvement is needed.  The new forms should be used for all applications made on or after 1 July 2015.

It is anticipated that further rule changes will follow in due course but the new changes go some way to ensuring the Court focuses more clearly around the needs of P – an extremely positive step for all concerned.

The full rules and forms can be found at www.gov.uk/court-of-protection