As many of you will know, I have spent a significant part of this year working on guidance commissioned by the Department of Health for Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCAs), relevant person's representatives (RPRs) and other advocates (as well as family members and friends of putative ‘P’s) considering acting as litigation friends in the Court of Protection.
The guidance has now been published, and is hosted by the University of Manchester, available here
. As it says in its introduction:
'Th[e] Guidance 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.'
Because of its scope, the guidance may also serve as a useful (free) overview for others wishing to learn more about the Court of Protection.
The guidance is primarily aimed at proceedings relating to health and welfare, and its chapter headings are as follows:
B: An overview of the Court of Protection
C: Who can be a litigation friend for P in proceedings before the Court of Protection?
D: Becoming a litigation friend and instructing lawyers
E: What does a litigation friend do?
F: When is it appropriate to bring a case to the Court of Protection as litigation friend for P?
G: How do cases before the Court of Protection proceed?
H: When would an appointment of a litigation friend come to an end?
J: Frequently asked questions
K: Useful sources of information
There are also appendices containing checklists, a template position statement and details of the ‘balance sheet’ approach.
I am very grateful indeed to the very many people who took the time to attend workshops and comment upon drafts, and generally – I hope – to assist in producing a document that will be of actual use!