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Court of Protection

The Court of Protection makes decisions on financial or welfare matters for people who can’t make decisions at the time they need to be made because they lack mental capacity.

Court of Protection

We are experts in Court of Protection

The Court of Protection can make decisions about the health and welfare and the property and financial affairs of adults who lack mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. These decisions will be made in the best interest of the person lacking capacity.

The court considers which decisions should be made about a range of health and welfare issues. These can include decisions in respect of residence, care, contact with others, medical treatment, internet and social media use, travel and a person’s capacity to consent to marriage, contraception or to engage in sexual relations.

If a person lacks capacity to manage their finances then someone can be appointed to assist them with this either through a lasting power of attorney or through deputyship.

Please see our health and welfare page for how our specialist Court of Protection team can assist you with cases in the Court of Protection about those matters.

If you want advice about financial matters such as lasting powers of attorney or deputyship, our specialist private client team can assist you with those.

Our Court of Protection Team

The Court of Protection is led by Melissa Law, who is the team leader and a partner in the firm. In the Legal 500 2021 Melissa was described as ‘Outstanding, simply one of the brightest and most hardworking young solicitors around. Her meticulous case preparation has already attracted plaudits from the judiciary. Mature and sensitive in her approach towards clients, she is a real pleasure to work with’. Melissa has obtained her Higher Rights of Audience and is also an Accredited Legal Representative under the Law Society’s Mental Capacity Accreditation scheme.

Laura Mannering (nee Dawson) joined the team in March 2020 bringing over 13 years’ experience, and 10 years’ PQE, in the Court of Protection. Laura is described in the Legal 500 2021 as “intelligent, sharp and insightful. Highly committed to her clients and always ready to fight their corner, but still measured and sensible. A very good knowledge of substantive law in the area”. Laura has obtained her Higher Rights of Audience and is also an Accredited Legal Representative under the Law Society’s Mental Capacity Accreditation scheme.

Sarah Lerner has 8 years’ experience in Court of Protection work largely acting for family members and for protected parties where the litigation friend is a family member.  She has 21 years’ experience in Community Care work and her knowledge of Judicial Review gives her a particular strength when considering and advising on public law issues which arise in Court of Protection work.  She was accredited to the Law Society’s Mental Health Panel and Children Panel for over 21 years. She is an experienced advocate and has extensive experience of advising and representing vulnerable adults.  She is a trained family mediator and has been described by counsel as ‘very good’ at dealing with the difficult issues that can arise between parties in the Court of Protection.

Liam Cunningham joined the team in October 2021 after qualifying as a solicitor in June 2021. Liam has 0-1 years PQE in Court of Protection work. Liam is a Mental Health Panel member under the Law Society’s Mental Health Accreditation Scheme. In Liam’s free time he volunteers as a lay panel member in school admission appeals.

The team is supported by two trainee solicitors, Catrin Williams and Chanel Pazos, and paralegals Jessie Marshall and Beatrice Windsor.

The team is ranked in the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners, which is a recognition of the skill, expertise and extensive knowledge of practice in the Court of Protection within the team.

Laura Mannering was the solicitor instructed in the recently reported cases of AEL, Re (Mental Capacity Act 2005) EWCOP 9, P (Discharge of Party), Re EWCA Civ 512 (16 April 2021) and in the case of Kent County Council v P (by her litigation friend the Official Solicitor) v NHS Kent and Medway Commissioning Group (formerly NHS South Kent CCG) EWCOP 3.

Please see the individual profiles of the team members for more details.

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