The Court of Protection can appoint a Personal Welfare Deputy to deal with any personal welfare issues that might arise in respect of an individual lacking relevant capacity. The Court’s power to make the appointment arises under Section 16 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
Welfare Deputies are normally appointed to deal with decisions concerning personal welfare issues that cannot be made by the person who has lost mental capacity; such as:-
- Medical treatment
Personal Welfare Deputy appointments are relatively rare, with the majority of applications being refused.
On occasion it can become necessary for the Court of Protection to make personal welfare decisions. Examples include:-
- Withholding life sustaining medical treatment
- Invasive treatment
- Experimental or innovative treatment
- Decisions involving a complex ethical dilemma
- Termination of pregnancy
Given the high rejection rate, we would recommend careful consideration before anyone puts themselves forward as a Personal Welfare Deputy.
It is particularly important that any proposed professional Personal Welfare Deputy is clearly and transparently impartial and independent. Professional Deputies must consider whether they are compromised by their previous involvement.
So, whilst solicitors in our team are willing to be appointed as professional Personal Welfare Deputies we will only make such an application if we have not previously been involved with the case and can be regarded as truly non-partisan.
Alternatively we can assist in making an application to the Court of Protection where there is a dispute about a specific decision relating to a patient’s health and welfare that needs to be determined by the Court of Protection.
Court of Protection Lawyers offer FREE initial guidance on all Court of Protection and Deputyship issues, so if you need advice on appointing a Welfare Deputy give us a call on 0808 139 1606 or email us at [email protected]