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Protecting Your Rights

Mental Capacity Solicitors

The law sets out specific processes for how decisions about healthcare and living arrangements should be made on behalf of people who lack the mental capacity to make these decisions themselves. We can act on behalf of these people and ensure that their care and welfare needs are provided for.

The Mental Capacity Act 2010 (MCA) sets out how decisions must be made and states that any decision made on behalf of someone who lacks the necessary mental capacity must be made in their best interests. If the people involved, such as family members, advocates or care organisations, cannot agree on what to do, cases can be referred to the Court of Protection.

Disputes can develop over a variety of issues, including:

  • Whether an individual does or does not have capacity
  • Where the person should live (for example, at home or in residential care, or choice of residential care)
  • What care the person should receive
  • The person’s contact with others (for example whether contact should be restricted, supervised or stopped altogether)
  • Serious medical treatment (including disputes about stopping or continuing 'life support', and disputes about sterilisation)

If you are involved with a mental capacity dispute, whether it has reached the Court of Protection or not, we can help. Contact our mental capacity lawyers online or call us on 0800 028 1943 to find out more.

Top ranked mental capacity lawyers in the UK
Experienced at all levels including Supreme Court
Dedicated Court of Protection team
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Mental Capacity - More Information
    • What Is The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005?
    • The Mental Capacity Act 2005 ('the MCA') is the law which sets out how decisions must be made on behalf of people who lack mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. It requires that any decision made on behalf of such a person must be made in their best interests.

      People involved with this decision-making process could include family members, advocates (including Independent Mental Capacity Advocates), care home managers and other care organisations. In the vast majority of cases, all involved parties can agree on a decision by following the 'best interests' decision making process under the MCA. However, when a serious dispute arises under the MCA, cases can be referred to the Court of Protection for a decision.

    • What Is The Court Of Protection?
    • The Court of Protection helps people who are unable to make their own decisions due to a lack of mental capacity. It does this by making decisions for them about their money, property, health or welfare.

      If these decisions need to be made on an ongoing basis, the Court can appoint someone (known as a deputy) to make them. We can help you become appointed as a deputy or act as a deputy ourselves.

      Read more about the Court of Protection.

    • What Does Lacking Mental Capacity Mean?
    • Mental capacity is defined by someone's ability to make a decision. In order to have the capacity to make a decision, someone must be able to:

      • Understand what the decision involves
      • Remember information long enough to make a decision about it
      • Use and weigh up the information to reach a decision
      • Communicate the decision

      If an adult is able to do all of these things, they have sufficient mental capacity to make a decision. If an adult is unable to do any one of these things, they lack the mental capacity to make a decision.

    • Meet The Experts
    • Irwin Mitchell's team of mental capacity solicitors is ranked first in the country by Chambers & Partners and Legal 500, organisations that survey and evaluate lawyers and firms around the world. A number of individuals in the team are also ranked highly:-

      • Yogi Amin - "a ground-breaking lawyer, always looking for new areas where vulnerable clients need help" who is highlighted for his "huge amount of experience in Court of Protection work." - Chambers & Partners 2017
      • Alex Rook - "a really strong and well-respected lawyer" with "huge amount of expertise." - Chambers & Partners 2017
      • Anne-Marie Irwin - "very good - she's on the ball and always on top of the facts, even in difficult and complex cases." - Chambers & Partners 2017
      • Polly Sweeney - "a clear voice in the often chaotic world of SEN and public law." - Chambers & Partners 2017
      • Mathieu Culverhouse - "very approachable, very thorough and an excellent solicitor." - Chambers & Partners, 2017

      We are also members of the Court of Protection Practitioners Association (CoPPA)

      Meet our mental capacity team.

Without Irwin Mitchell challenging the Local Authority we would still be awaiting an answer."

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Should I Choose Irwin Mitchell For My Mental Capacity Case?

Our experienced team of mental capacity solicitors are national leaders in mental capacity disputes.

We have been involved in a number of the leading mental capacity case, including the landmark Cheshire West Supreme Court case, in which we represented the mother of the man at the centre of the proceedings.  We are regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor, Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCAs) and care organisations, who come to us because they trust our dedication and expertise in this field.

Our expert lawyers have experience in mediation and in negotiating solutions in hotly disputed cases, both inside and outside the Court of Protection. As a full service law firm, we also offer a wide variety of other services that can be helpful for individuals with reduced mental capacity, such as a representation in healthcare and human rights disputes or help with personal injury trusts.

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What Are The Deprivation Of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)?

A 'deprivation of liberty' is when an adult who lacks the mental capacity to make decisions about their care is under continuous supervision and control and is not free to leave their place of residence.

In many cases this will be justified, but a recent landmark case that we were involved in (the ‘Cheshire West’ case) has established that proper authorisation is needed, even where there is good reason for the deprivation of liberty.

In some situations, authorisation can be obtained through the ‘Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards’ (also known as ‘DoLS’), which allows local councils to authorise deprivation of liberty. However, in many circumstances this authorisation can only come from the Court of Protection, including where there is a dispute about the placement.

If you're involved in a dispute over deprivation of liberty, it's important to get specialist legal advice as this is a complex, evolving area of law. We are the national leaders in this field, having been involved in a number of high-profile cases, including the recent 'community DoLS' cases of Re X and NRA. Contact us today to find out more.


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What Are IMCAs, RPRs and PRPRs?

When someone lacks the mental capacity to make a decision about a specific issue, an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) will often be appointed to be consulted about what is in the person's best interests if there is no one else appropriate.

Relevant Person's Representatives (RPRs) are appointed to people subject to a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) authorisation in a hospital or care home. The RPR supports them through the process, including supporting them to challenge their deprivation of liberty if required.

When there is no one else appropriate to take on the role of representative, a paid relevant person's representative (PRPR) will be appointed.

Read more about how we can help IMCAs and RPRs.

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Awards & Accreditations

We're always proud to be recognised for the work we do for our clients and have been named as a leading firm in the latest legal guides - which provide information and recommendations about lawyers and law firms in the UK.


Private Client Team of the Year - Legal Business Awards 2017
"'One of the best’ and ‘go-to firm’ Irwin Mitchell covers the full range of work, and specialises in complex, unique cases."
"The lawyers are heavyweight individuals in a big firm, but they never compromise on client care. They handle cases with striking compassion and insight."

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