Has the MCA changed? 

The MCA (including the applicability of DOLS) remains unchanged.

Should we be still be making applications to Court, and when? 

Despite current circumstances, applications to the Court concerning serious medical treatment, withdrawal of treatment (in certain circumstances) and authorisation of care arrangements outside the care home context will still need to be made by Trusts and CCGs.

For its part, the Court of Protection has confirmed that genuinely urgent and ‘life/death’ cases will continue to be identified and prioritised in the usual way. Clinicians should not, therefore, shy away from making those applications, where needed.

Is the Court of Protection still open? 

In short, yes but not in the usual way. As of 24 March 2020, the Court of Protection confirmed that, until further notice, no in-person hearings would be taking place unless there is (i) a genuine urgency and (ii) it is not possible to conduct a remote hearing.

Both criteria need to be met for a hearing to take place in-person, and the Court demonstrated itself well able to conduct a remote hearing of a ‘genuinely urgent’ case (concerning serious medical treatment) via Skype in the following days.

With several experts giving their evidence remotely via video link, one even from self-isolation, familiarity with and adaptability in using new technology will be a key skill in the current and post-COVID-19 environment.

Whilst the current circumstances will require all to adapt to the remote Court environment, the Court of Protection remains ‘open for business’ and Trusts and CCGs should continue to apply to Court where appropriate in the usual way.

How Capsticks can help

If you have any queries around what's discussed in this article, and the impact on your organisation, please speak to Anita Rao, Charlotte Radcliffe or Francis Lyons to find out more about how Capsticks can help. For urgent out-of-hours queries please contact our emergency line on 0208 780 4860 and you will be put in touch with a solicitor who will be able to assist you.