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Important overview of Court of Protection’s welfare jurisdiction published

Cardiff University uses ground breaking empirical research

Researchers at Cardiff University's School of Law and Politics have used ground-breaking empirical research to provide an important overview of the Court of Protection's welfare jurisdiction.

The Court of Protection (CoP) was established in 2007 by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) to adjudicate on questions relating to mental capacity and best interests. It has an important and growing jurisdiction over decisions concerning the health, welfare and liberty of people with mental disabilities such as dementia, learning disabilities, brain injuries and mental illness. In the ten years since the CoP was established, there has been ongoing discussion and debate about the accessibility, efficiency and transparency of its welfare jurisdiction. However, little hard data exist to support careful analysis of these issues. The latest report from Cardiff University seeks to remedy that omission.

The report presents data on a wide range of issues including: the demographics of 'P' (the person whom the case is about), applicants, the subject matter of litigation, key transparency markers such as the publication of judgments and reporting restrictions, procedural matters such as how many hearings were held and how many judges were involved in each case, and how cases ended.

The report finds:

The report is based on findings from two studies conducted by researchers at Cardiff University's School of Law and Politics, and funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The first study is based on data gathered from CoP welfare case files held by the court. This study is in itself a landmark in transparency, aas it could only take place after the Court of Protection Rules 2007 were revised to grant researchers access to the CoP. The second study used the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to gather data from local authorities and NHS bodies about their involvement in CoP welfare litigation. Both studies were based on data from 2014-15, the year following P v Cheshire West and Chester Council & Anor [2014] UKSC 19, a landmark ruling of the Supreme Court that has had an important impact on the CoP's jurisdiction over deprivation of liberty.

For the report, click here. For the key findings, click here.