Welfare disputes

You may be faced with the uncertain challenge of caring for an adult who, for reasons of mental illness, learning disability or cognitive illness such as dementia, cannot make certain decisions themselves.

If an individual does lack the mental capacity to make important decisions, any decision made on their behalf must be in that person’s best interests.

Sadly, disputes can arise between families and more frequently between families and public authorities, such as Social Services or NHS Trusts. These disputes often concern where an individual should live or with whom they should have contact. Individuals on both sides of the argument will sometimes have strongly held views as to what is in someone’s best interests.

If disputes cannot be resolved by discussion or mediation, then the Court of Protection may be asked to make a decision on behalf of the person who lacks capacity. The Court can also appoint or remove individuals to be decision makers on behalf of that person for both financial and welfare matters.

How Clarke Willmott can help

Our specialist Court of Protection team is experienced in advising on all issues relating to welfare and mental capacity issues that may fall within the boundaries of the Court of Protection. Whilst we frequently represent clients in contested welfare applications in the Court of Protection, we will always seek to discuss alternative resolution before taking the step of applying to the Court of Protection. We will support you in trying to resolve the issue without the need for court intervention where possible, although there are times when this is unavoidable.

We can also provide advice and assistance concerning complaints and public law challenges to Social Services and health authorities where a decision concerning you or your loved one appears to be unreasonable, irrational or unlawful.

Our services include:

  • Disputes about mental capacity
  • Disputes about whether the care an individual receives is in their best interests
  • Disputes about where an individual should live
  • Disputes over Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs)
  • Disputes over contact and safeguarding a vulnerable adult
  • Disputes over consenting to marriage or sexual relationships
  • Disputes about medical treatment
  • Advice about obtaining legal aid funding

Related services

Helpful links

Contact a Court of Protection solicitor

If you have a concern about the welfare of a vulnerable person, call our specialist Court of Protection team now on 0800 652 8025 or contact us online.