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Law Society launches mental capacity accreditation for Court of Protection

The Law Society has launched a new mental capacity accreditation for legal representatives serving the Court of Protection.

Chancery Lane said it had been working with the Court and The City Law School to provide training and accreditation to ensure expert legal representation was available for all mental capacity cases in which welfare matters were at stake.

Law Society President Robert Bourns said: "The Court of Protection makes decisions about enforced medical treatment, care, deprivation of liberty or limits on people’s movements, where they live or who they see.

"We are working with the court to ensure accredited legal representatives are available to assert and defend the rights of vulnerable people when important decisions are made about their lives.”

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Bourns added: "Anyone living with dementia, a learning disability or brain injury - for instance - must have their best interests protected, whether they are in a hospital, care or family home. To ensure this is done, they should have the value and reassurance of expert legal representation to protect their rights, as well as their health and general welfare."

In March 2016, Mr Justice Charles, Vice President of the Court of Protection, handed down a judgment highlighting the lack of appropriate representatives available to vulnerable people coming to the court.

Large numbers of such cases, concerning what are often crucial health and welfare decisions, are still pending indefinitely, Chancery Lane said.

The President added: "The Law Society mental capacity accreditation will ensure that vulnerable people coming to the Court of Protection are represented by experts with a depth of understanding of the complexities involved in representing clients who lack mental capacity.

"As our population ages and the number of people who need long-term care grows, it's essential that measures to protect people who lack mental capacity are fit for purpose."

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