Welfare Cases in the Court of Protection is a research project at Cardiff Law School, funded by the Nuffield Foundation. We are seeking to gather robust empirical data on welfare cases in the Court of Protection – a new court established under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The Mental Capacity Act provides a legal framework for making a wide range of decisions on behalf of people who are said to lack mental capacity.
Health and welfare cases in the Court of Protection
The Court of Protection makes several thousand decisions every year about property and affairs matters, but our project is only looking at cases about health and welfare issues. For example, cases which are about where a person should live, or whether they should receive particular medical treatment, or about people who are deprived of their liberty under the Mental Capacity Act deprivation of liberty procedures.
As increasing numbers of judgments are published by the Court of Protection, we know more about the kinds of decisions it is making. However, less is known about the process of using the Court of Protection, and the views of those who work within the court or use it as litigants. We are especially interested in gathering information about three key themes: the accessibility of the Court, how this can be balanced with efficiency, and questions about transparency. We aim to gather information from a range of sources, for example by collecting statistical data from court files, from talking to people who use and work in the court and by observing some proceedings. We recognize that there are many complex and competing considerations when it comes to questions of accessibility, efficiency and transparency and the interests of justice, and we are interested in hearing what different people have to say on these themes.
If you want to find out more about the Mental Capacity Act and the Court of Protection, we have put together a Resources page. We also have pages which will contain news, articles and updates about our study for the general public and for specialists working in this field. If you have come across our study through an invitation to participate, you might want to read more information especially for participants. We will also post online details of any events that we host. If you would like to ask us any questions about the study, or suggest issues that you think we should be looking at, then please feel free to contact us.
The project is led by Professor Phil Fennell. Dr Lucy Series is the researcher working on the project, and Professor Luke Clements and Dr Julie Doughty are project consultants.
The Nuffield Foundation
The Nuffield Foundation is an endowed charitable trust that aims to improve social well-being in the widest sense. It funds research and innovation in education and social policy and also works to build capacity in education, science and social science research. The Nuffield Foundation has funded this project, but the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation. More information is available at www.nuffieldfoundation.org