On Wednesday, Clarke Willmott hosted the STEP Bristol capacity event. Anthony Fairweather spoke about his role as a Deputy and the issues that he faces when dealing with the most vulnerable people in the Court system. He also looked at the changes being brought in by the Care Act 2014. As reported in our recent posts, we are entering interesting times and it is very much on our minds here that people will need to be aware of their rights and also the local authority’s obligations regarding care. We will continue to look at these issues through the blog in the coming months.
At the capacity event Heledd Wyn spoke about capacity to make gifts – both in lifetime and under a Will and also those made by attorneys and deputies. It was clear that we all need to be vigilant about who our client is, and whether they have the capacity or authority to make the gifts – in short, the capacity conundrum. Heledd also spoke about the STEP Mental Capacity Special Interest Group.
Our final speaker was Jess Flanagan who spoke about the impact of the Supreme Court decision in Cheshire West and Chester v P and Ors  UKSC 19. Led by Baroness Hale, this judgment changed the landscape in respect of care provision for those who lack capacity to make decisions about their care and treatment, and where they should be accommodated to receive such care. If an individual is assessed as lacking mental capacity to make decisions about their care and accommodation, and if they are not free to leave their home, hospital or care home, and under the continuous control and supervision of their carers, they will meet the definition set out in Cheshire West and be assessed as being ‘deprived of their liberty’. The result of this is that the public authority with more than a ‘non negotiable’ level of involvement with care provision must seek authorisation of that placement. Jess focussed on the role of the deputy and attorney in these applications.
The event provided an overview of the varied work that comes under the heading of ‘capacity’,from traditional estate planning to community care law and the role of the Deputy. This was another popular event that gave everyone an insight into the myriad complex issues of this area.