Q&As

Does a deputy have the authority to enter into pre-action correspondence on behalf of a patient without being appointed a litigation friend?

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Produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 24/02/2016

The following Private Client Q&A produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Does a deputy have the authority to enter into pre-action correspondence on behalf of a patient without being appointed a litigation friend?

Does a deputy have the authority to enter into pre-action correspondence on behalf of a patient without being appointed a litigation friend?

This Q&A relates to the powers accruing to deputies to engage in litigation on behalf of a patient (referred to as 'P' for the remainder of this answer) without being appointed a litigation friend.

A deputy is a person appointed by the Court of Protection to enable that person to make certain decisions for someone else who lacks capacity. There are two types of deputy; a property and financial affairs deputy, who is able to make decisions on behalf of P relating to their assets and money, and a personal welfare deputy, who is able to make decisions about matters including medical treatment. Upon a grant, the Order of the Court of Protection will ordinarily specify the powers that can be exercised by the deputy, which may specifically allow the managing of court proceedings. Section 18 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA 2005) makes clear that the powers in respect of property and affairs can extend in particular to the conduct of legal proceedings in P’s name or on P’s behalf (MCA 2005, s 18(1)(k)). In addition, specific direction can be given in respect of particular proceedings.

A litigation friend is a person appointed by the court to make decisions about a court case

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