Safeguarding and the Court of Protection
Produced in partnership with Alex Ruck Keene of 39 Essex Chambers
Safeguarding and the Court of Protection

The following Private Client practice note Produced in partnership with Alex Ruck Keene of 39 Essex Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Safeguarding and the Court of Protection
  • What is safeguarding?
  • The statutory basis of safeguarding applications
  • Safeguarding duties of local authorities
  • The duty to promote well-being
  • The duty of enquiry
  • The meaning of 'abuse'
  • Safeguarding and the Court of Protection
  • Safeguarding during Court of Protection proceedings

Safeguarding issues frequently underpin or arise in welfare proceedings in the Court of Protection and this Practice Note addresses how such issues should be approached. Note that this Practice Note does not address specific practice alterations caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These are addressed in Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—Court of Protection and mental capacity.

What is safeguarding?

‘Safeguarding’, in its broadest sense, encompasses all aspects of a person’s welfare. It is this meaning of safeguarding that informs the approach of local authorities to the provision of adult services.

However, in the context of proceedings in the Court of Protection the term ‘safeguarding’ is generally used to refer to what might more accurately be called ‘adult protection’: investigation and intervention by a public body where it is suspected that a person has been, is currently, or may in future be, the subject of abuse.

The statutory basis of safeguarding applications

Prior to the commencement of the Care Act 2014 (CA 2014), the safeguarding responsibilities on local authorities in England arose from a mixture of statutory obligations (including the duty to undertake community care assessments), statutory guidance and public law and human rights requirements.

CA 2014 changed the law by imposing specific safeguarding duties on local authorities in England. Equivalent duties were also introduced in Wales by the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

It is important to note that it

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