Urgent Applications in the Court of Protection - a review by Ruth Hughes

Monday, 01 November 2010
Ruth Hughes reviews "Urgent Applications in the Court of Protection", by Nazreen Pearce and Sue Jackson, published by Jordan.

Urgent Applications looks to be quite a long tome, running to 552 pages, for such a niche topic but there is little chance of the reader being bogged down in arid academic debate. The first thing you notice about Urgent Applications is that half of it reproduces the Court of Protection forms. The inclusion of myriad forms at once highlights the ultra-practical nature of the book and also an indication why it might be a helpful addition to your library.

The strength of Urgent Applications is its practicality. It neatly dissects the broad range of applications which come before the Court of Protection (from the law relating to consent to sexual relations to revoking a Lasting Power of Attorney) and gives practical assistance on how to make an application from beginning to final hearing. In addition to the forms there are helpful draft orders, including orders providing directions in welfare cases. This assistance is particularly helpful for practioners used to the property and affairs jurisdiction of the old Court of Protection but finding that clients increasingly require assistance with health and welfare issues as well. Urgent Applications explains with relative brevity what can be done and how it can be done, including pointing the reader to the relevant sections of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the Court of Protection Rules, the Code of Practice and the relevant forms. Urgent Applicationsis therefore particularly useful when faced with an urgent situation as it lays out the correct manner of proceeding in simple easy to follow procedural guides and brings together much of the relevant statutory and non-statutory material, including some reference to the case law. It even gives the relevant Court fees!

In truth, however, there is only a limited amount of material which is specifically aimed at urgent (rather than generic) applications to the Court of Protection but the generic material is certainly necessary when making an urgent application and helpfully included. Urgent Applications deals with a range of the most common urgent applications and gives a brief introduction. For me the explanation to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, including the European Human Rights dimension was apposite but suitably concise and it would equip one with all the really important law in a very short time. However, I was disappointed with the brevity of the coverage on statutory wills. Urgent Applications cites Re P and Re S and S but not the important application of those cases by Mumby J in Re M which qualifies Re S and S substantially and the relevant precedent is extremely basic. Urgent Applications also fails to address the difficult problems which occur if there are overseas issues which (although still not common) are increasingly arising in Court of Protection cases.

Urgent Applications is a helpful book because of its practicality and will be particularly useful to solicitors drafting applications in urgent circumstances in any of the core areas of Court of Protection cases, whether they relate to property and affairs or health and welfare, but that practical nature also limits its use for appearing in complex Court of Protection actions, especially in the High Court.

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Ruth Hughes

Ruth Hughes is a Barrister practising at 5 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, London.

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