PROTECTION ORDER: Reasonable grounds for making an application to the Court of Protection would be if (both):
- The person you are apprehensive or concerned about has lost their mental capacity. Worries relate to personal welfare, property, or financial affairs.
- You want the court to give you a one-off decision. An example would be to stop a person visiting another who lost mental capacity and lives in a nursing home.
As a rule, you should try to find an agreement to avoid having to go to court. But, you can apply to the court if it fails and a major disagreement requires a serious decision.
Note: You can read more about the general rules and code of practice giving guidance for decisions made under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
In some cases, you may need to apply to search the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) registers. That is how you find out if someone has an attorney or deputy acting for them.
Is there an Immediate Risk to the Person?
The process differs if you think the person may be in immediate danger. For example, if they require emergency medical treatment and cannot give their consent. In this case, you can make an urgent or emergency application to the Court of Protection instead.
Does the Person Need Long-term Help?
Different rules apply if the person needs long-term help with decisions about their personal welfare and financial affairs. So, you can apply to become someone’s deputy if that person ‘lacks mental capacity’.
Apply to Make Decisions on Someone Else’s Behalf
You will need to download and fill in several different forms, including:
- Use Form COP1 to apply for a Court of Protection order. The application allows people to make financial and welfare decisions for someone else.
- Use Form COP3 (an ‘assessment of capacity’) to submit an expert opinion about someone’s mental capacity. It is part of an application for making decisions for another person.
Note: The other person’s doctor (or a medical professional) should fill in the relevant parts. You must send the original document and one copy as well.
In certain cases, you might also need to download and fill in several other forms, such as:
- Use Form COP1A to describe the property and finance decisions you need to make for someone when applying for a Court of Protection order.
- Use Form COP24 to give a witness statement about a person who lacks mental capacity.
- Use Form COP1B to describe the personal welfare decisions you need to make for someone when you apply for a Court of Protection order. You must send the original document and one copy as well.
Note: The fee to apply for a one-off decision from the Court of Protection is £365.
You can use Form COP44A to apply for help with Court of Protection fees. It only applies to people on low income or those getting certain benefits. Fees will vary depending on the actual circumstances of your case.
Remember to send a cheque with your completed forms and make it payable to ‘HM Courts and Tribunals Service’.
Court of Protection
PO Box 70185
First Avenue House
42-49 High Holborn
London WC1A 9JA
The next step is for you to tell other people that you have applied for a protection order. The people that you must inform include:
- The person for whom you are applying to get a one off decision from the Court of Protection.
- Any other people with connections to the application.
How to Tell the Other People (serve notice)
You will receive a stamped copy of your application forms from the Court of Protection. They will also show the issue date and a separate letter explains the next step.
Note: You will need to serve papers (tell certain people) about the application within fourteen (14) days of the issue date.
The Person You are Applying to get a One Off Decision For
Once you get this far, either you (or your representative) must visit the subject of the application. You will need to tell them:
- The name of the person applying to get a one-off decision about their personal welfare, their property, and financial affairs.
- That the application results from the questioning of their capability to make their own decisions and the full consequences of what the one off decision will mean for them.
- Where they can get advice if they want to discuss the protection order application.
You must also provide the person with:
- A completed Form COP14 used to inform someone of an application about their property, affairs, or personal welfare.
- An ‘acknowledgment of service Form COP5‘ which confirms they have been told.
- Any other supporting documents related to the application.
If the person chooses to get some advice and legal assistance they can contact the Court of Protection.
Other People Connected to the Application
You must also tell anyone named on the application that you have issued it. You should send them:
- Form COP15: Confirmation of proceedings (Court of Protection).
- Form COP5: Apply to be part of Court of Protection proceedings ‘acknowledgment of service’ (see above).
- Any other supporting documents related to the application.
Note: There are several different ways that you can tell them such as by post, fax, email, or in person.
Confirming You Served Notice
After sending the forms you must then confirm that you told all the people involved within seven (7) days. You should download and fill in both of these certificates of service:
- Form COP20A: Certificate of Notification/Non-Notification of the person to whom the proceedings relate.
- Form COP20B: Certificate of Service/Non-Service Notification/Non-Notification.
Follow that by sending both ‘certificates of service’ to the Court of Protection together and at the same time (see address above).
Attending a Court Hearing
If there will be a court hearing you must attend it. You must also inform the subject about the hearing:
- Within fourteen (14) days of getting the notice.
- At least fourteen (14) days in advance of the hearing date.
You can use the same notice about proceedings (Form COP14). Give it to the person related to the decision. They can contact the Court of Protection for further advice if needed (see above).
You must send another certificate of service (COP20A) to the Court of Protection within seven (7) days of telling the person. If the court makes a final decision at a hearing there will be a £500 fee to pay.
After Serving Notice
The Court of Protection will make contact after you ‘served notice’. The court will provide you with any updated information, such as whether:
- They have approved the application or rejected it.
- You need to provide more information to support the application (e.g. a social services report).
- The court will hold a hearing to make a decision. If so, they will inform you of the hearing date (notice) and the venue for it.
Getting a Decision
As a rule, you will get a decision at the hearing (or afterwards by postal methods). If there is no hearing you will get the decision by post.
Challenging the Decision
You can apply to the court for a reconsideration if they made the decision without a hearing. Use Form COP9 within 21 days of the decision date.
How to Appeal the Decision
You can ask for permission to appeal if there was a hearing. Use Form COP35: Appellant’s notice (also called a ‘notice of appeal’). The fee is £365 but you can apply for help to pay the fee (see above).