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Cold front

UK residents risk being frozen out by ?the Court of Protection’s current legal ?aid scheme, say Rebecca Basely and Francesca Gardner

20 January 2012

The Court of Protection (CoP) has jurisdiction in relation to some of the most vulnerable individuals and over some of the most sensitive matters, but the reality is that it is inaccessible to the great majority of UK residents, especially when it comes to its welfare jurisdiction.

The reason is because very few private individuals could afford to ?litigate in the High Court and that is, essentially, what we are talking about when we refer to the CoP’s welfare jurisidiction. There is the possibility of public funds being available via the legal aid scheme, but these are far more limited than one would perhaps imagine – and that legal aid gap is what we ?will focus on here.

The recent case of W v M & Ors [2011] EWHC 2443 (Fam) (28 September 2011) has exposed the stark realities of the legal aid gap. This was the first case whereby the CoP was asked ?to determine whether it would be...

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