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Guidance published for litigation friends in Court of Protection

Guidance written for non-legal advocates

Guidance has been published for litigation friends on the working of the Court of Protection.

The Guidance has been commissioned by the Department of Health and written by Alexander Ruck Keene of Thirty Nine Essex Street. It aims to demystify the Court of Protection generally and the role of litigation friend specifically so as to enable more people to consider taking up the role – thereby ensuring the better promotion and protection of the rights of those said to be lacking capacity to take their own decisions.

The Guidance has been written for non-legal advocates such as Independent Mental Capacity Advocates ('IMCAs') and Relevant Person's Representatives ('RPRs') as well as family members or friends of P (ie a person (other than a protected party) who lacks or, so far as consistent with the context, is alleged to lack capacity to make a decision or decisions in relation to any matter that is the subject of an application to the court).

 The Guidance has two distinct purposes: 

  1. To enable an advocate or a family member/friend of P to take a matter to the Court of Protection as litigation friend for P and properly to discharge their duties as litigation friend. To this end, the Guidance looks at when it is appropriate to bring matters to the court so as to promote P's rights. 
  2. To enable an advocate (or, which is probably less likely, a family member/friend of P) to be able to accept an invitation to act as litigation friend for P in proceedings before the Court of Protection brought by another person or body, and properly to be able to discharge their duties as litigation friend.

The Guidance is here.