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Supreme Court determines limits of Court of Protection powers

22/03/17

N v ACCG and Others [2017] UKSC 22

The Supreme Court has dismissed N’s (the parents of MN) application against the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of its appeal against a ruling by Eleanor King J that the Court of Protection had no jurisdiction to continue to hear a case challenging a refusal by the relevant care provider to fund a particular form of care that the parents claimed was in N’s best interests. The Court of Appeal had observed that the appeal raised ‘fundamental questions as to the nature of the Court of Protection’s jurisdiction and … the approach it should adopt when a care provider is unwilling to provide, or to fund, the care sought…’

In her judgment Lady Hale (with whom all of the other members of the Court agreed) held that the question was one of case management albeit within the extensive case management powers that the Court of Protection possessed. The Court of Protection lacked power to order the care provider to provide what the family wanted but it had jurisdiction to continue the hearing. However, in the circumstances there was no sensible point in continuing the hearing and the judge was right to exercise her undoubted case management powers to terminate it.

The judgment is here.

Richard Gordon QC was instructed on behalf of the Official Solicitor who intervened successfully, as litigation friend of MN, to resist the appeal.