1. When to Request Legal Services
When a request must be made
A request for legal services support should always be made when:
- A Health and Welfare Deputyship application is to be made to the Court of Protection;
- An application is to be made to the High Court;
- Another person or organisation has made an application to Court.
Note: Property and Affairs Deputyship applications are managed by the Money Management Team.
When a request can be made
The advice and guidance of legal services can be helpful to support robust and legal decision making when:
- The decision to be made is complex; and
- There are a range of options available; and
- It is not clear from legislation, codes of practice or any other available guidance what decision should be made; and
- The decision is likely to have a significant impact on a person or carer; and
- There is a high risk of complaint or legal challenge.
Decisions could be those under:
- The Care Act (including Safeguarding);
- The Mental Capacity Act (including DoLS); or
- The Mental Health Act 1983.
They could be decisions about:
- Eligibility for adult Care and Support;
- Indicative or final Personal Budgets;
- Ordinary residence;
- Withdrawal of refusal of a Direct Payment;
- What is in a person's Best Interests (including where they should live);
- Whether a person lacks capacity;
- The action that should/should not be taken to safeguard a person;
- Whether an application to the Court of Protection should be made;
- Whether a person is being deprived of their liberty.
Complaints and investigations
It can be helpful to seek the support of legal services in complex complaints or investigations, particularly when:
- Statutory processes and duties are being challenged; and
- There are legal implications for the outcome of the complaint or investigation.
2. Requesting Legal Services
The first thing that you must do is discuss the potential need for legal services with your line manager.
If your line manager is in agreement you should complete the 'Form to Request Adult Legal Services Advice'. This can be found in the Local Resources area by clicking here.
Once completed the form must be sent to the relevant Service Manager for approval. If approved the date of approval must be inserted into the form.
The approved form should then be emailed to the Adult Services Legal Team generic email (adult care legal).
The Adult Services Legal Team manager will then allocate to a member of the team who will respond accordingly.
If the matter requires emergency advice you can contact the Adult Services Legal Team without prior approval to do so. This contact can be made via email or telephone.
Once contact has been made you must send an email to your line manager and relevant Service Manager to let them know that an emergency request for advice has been made.
Where legal advice has been provided and the matter is ongoing you can contact the Adult Services Legal Team without the need for further approval or referral.
3. The Role of Legal Services in Court Applications
In Court applications it is the role of legal services to manage and co-ordinate:
- The application process;
- Any correspondence to or from the Court;
- How and when evidence is provided;
- How evidence is organised and submitted to the Court;
- How others are involved in the process, including how tasks may be delegated.
It is also important that they support you in your role, which includes:
- Developing your understanding of Court processes;
- Supporting you to evaluate the robustness of the evidence you provide;
- Advising you about how to complete various court forms appropriately; and
- Supporting you during any oral hearings.