- 81% of authorities in England reported at least one welfare case, the average number for a local authority in England was three and 4% of authorities had been involved in more than ten.
- In Wales, 56% of local authorities reported at least one welfare case, the average number was one and none had been involved in more than three.
- Variations in the number of cases between local authorities could not be explained by population size alone, and neither could lower patterns of use of the court in Wales.
- Almost three quarters of applications to the court were made by local authorities; applications by the relevant person, their family or an advocate were rarer.
- Applications from the relevant person or an advocate were more common where the relevant person was subject to a deprivation of liberty authorization under Schedule A1 to the MCA 2005.
- In 62% of cases the relevant person was deprived of their liberty, either by an authorization under Schedule A1 (25%), by order of the CoP (43%) or both (15%).
- Half of all completed cases reported in our study lasted nine months or longer; half of all ongoing cases lasted twelve months or longer.
- Some cases had lasted as long as seven years; these are likely to be situations where a person is deprived of their liberty but its continuation must be regularly authorized by a court because it is in a setting where the DoLS administrative procedures do not apply.
- Half of all cases reported in our study were estimated to have cost local authorities £8,881 or more, but this figure is likely to be an under-estimate. One case was estimated to have cost a local authority £250,000.
- The greatest cost to a local authority was the time of in-house legal staff – costing £8,150 or more. The next greatest cost was fees for counsel, with half costing £3,198 or more, followed by the local authorities’ contributions to independent expert reports, with half costing £1,357 or more.
A team at Cardiff University has published research looking into the use of the Court of Protection by public authorities. The data was obtained through Freedom of Information requests about their involvement in CoP welfare cases during 2013-14 .
Their key findings were:
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