Sometimes plans have to be made for loved ones who lack capacity to make decisions for themselves that involve them being looked after either at home with a package of support or in a care home.
Difficult decisions have to be made about where they are to live,who they might see and have a relationship with as well as other care planning issues. The difficult matter of whether they should be prevented from leaving where they live, raising the issue of “Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards” ( “DOLS” ) will often also need to be addressed. These plans might need to be agreed with Social Services and applications have to be made to the Court of Protection for decisions to be confirmed whether agreed by Social Services or not.
Very occasionally, there is a disagreement about medical treatment of such individuals. These cases are often very urgent and may relate to end of life decisions and ‘do not resuscitate’ instructions.
We have a team of experienced Direct Access Barristers with significant healthcare expertise ready and able to advise and represent you on these sensitive and difficult matters, which can often require urgent action at short notice.
Court of Protection proceedings relate to arrangements made for individuals who are unable to make decisions for themselves either due to their young age or in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act 2005. They may be able to care for themselves everyday but are unable to make big picture decisions such as care, living arrangements or medical treatment in their best interest. These proceedings fall into two categories: health and welfare of the person, such as medical treatment decisions, granting Power of Attorney, Deprivation of Liberty (‘DOLs’), deputyship, guardians etc. Property and financial affairs, including disposal of their property, making financial decisions on their behalf, managing funds for their care, statutory wills, amending property to suit their needs etc.
The person, parents, friends and family members who will need to make these decisions. Our barristers are able to advise and represent you during what can be a difficult time and are available at short notice for urgent applications.
Yes – in order to formalise these arrangements you need to apply to the Court of Protection. This normally involves filling out four forms and providing a doctor’s certificate confirming that the person does not have capacity to make their own decisions.
Direct Access, also known as Public Access, allows you to directly instruct a barrister to act on your behalf, without using a solicitor or intermediary as is traditional. You are managing your case. However, not all cases are suitable for direct access and only barristers specifically trained to accept direct access instruction can assist you. Meet our trained barristers here.
We use a 4 step process outlining how you can instruct a barrister directly: Enquire, Discuss, Confirm, Instruct. Each stage is designed so we can make sure your case is suitable for direct access. It enables our clerks to find the right barrister, at the right price, for the right time just for you. Read more about the process here.
It is your responsibility to provide clear, concise instructions for your barrister to work towards your desired outcome. They cannot manage your case or your affairs nor can they handle money on your behalf.
Each case is different and some cases are not suitable for direct access instruction. For this area Clients using legal aid are not suitable for Direct Access so should instruct us using a solicitor.
Some cases require more day to day management so are not suitable for direct access. In this case, we will not progress beyond the Enquiry stage of our process but you can instruct us using a solicitor.
Fees can be a fixed amount for agreed upon work or an hourly rate with a set limit. Your case is unique but our experienced clerks can provide an accurate fee once you have submitted your enquiry form. Generally speaking, fees can vary depend on how senior a barrister is and how many hours work are needed but you’ll be aware of exactly what you are spending. Read more about our fees here.
Upon receiving this enquiry form a Public Access Clerk will contact you to discuss your case in further detail. Please see our 4 steps outlining the process of instructing a Direct Access Barrister.
1. Submit an enquiry
Fill out our form, designed to collect as much information as possible about your case.
2. Speak to a clerk
After carefully reviewing your form, a specially trained Clerk will get in touch to confirm if your case is suitable for one of our Direct Access Barristers.
3. Receive a client care pack
Once our Direct Access Barrister has agreed in principle to represent you, you will be sent a ‘client care letter’.
4. Instructing a Barrister
If you want to go ahead after agreeing to your client care letter, it’s time to instruct your Direct Access Barrister. Download a PDF of this process here.