Mental Capacity Act delays

Posted 17th June 2010

'Protection delays' taken from The Law Gazette, 17 June 2010

The court that makes decisions on behalf of people lacking mental capacity has suffered 'more than its fair share of setbacks' and is still achieving only one of its six targets, over 30 months after its creation, a report revealed last week.

The first report into the work of the Court of Protection, established when the Mental Capacity Act came into force on 1 October 2007, reveals a consistent failure to meet five out of six targets for the time taken to respond to applicants and arrange hearings.

The court's senior judge, Denzel Lush, said it had endured 'more than its fair share of setbacks' because no one had anticipated the volume of work that would 'inundate' the court, and there had been too few judges to cope with demand.

During its first 18 months, the court received 1,248 complaints about delays, the time taken to process applications, and judicial directions.  In the nine mnths from 1 April 2009 to 31 December 2009, however, there were just 424 complaints, a significant reduction achieved by using visiting judges.

Jonathan Rayner

Source: The Law Gazette

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