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Court of Protection visitors - hands off the biscuits!

View profile for Rachel Leech
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I have recently joined the specialist Court of Protection & Inheritance Disputes team here at Birkett Long and learnt about the important role the court plays in dealing with the affairs of those who lack mental capacity. The Court of Protection is supported by the Office of the Public Guardian.  Part of this function is the supervision of deputies and attorneys. To facilitate the supervision of deputies and to help the Court of Protection make decisions, visitors will often be deployed.

Initially I was puzzled by this term. I had visions of group outings to the Court of Protection, but it turns out a ‘visitor’ is someone who is dispatched to visit anyone the court instructs them to, including patients, a deputy or an attorney. They produce an independent report for the Office of the Public Guardian.  These reports are used by the Court of Protection when making decisions.

There are two types of Court of Protection visitors; ‘special visitors’, who are medical practitioners with special knowledge of mental capacity, and ‘general visitors’, who do not need to be medically qualified but do need to have experience of mental incapacity. The type of visitor used will depend on the circumstances.

The reports which the Court of Protection visitors produce can only be released with the court's permission.  However, there are certain people who should be given a copy of the report, such as the person who makes the application to the court or the person who the application is against.  There is also scope for someone who is not party to the case to obtain a copy of the report.  

So it seems that these visitors do a lot more than just pop in for tea and eat all your favourite biscuits - unlike my visitors!

If you are an attorney or deputy and require guidance on visitors or anything else to do with the Court of Protection, please do not hesitate to contact our specialist team here at Birkett Long. I am based at our Colchester and can be reached on 01206 217623 or email rachel.leech@birkettlong.co.uk

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