1. When to Request Legal Services
When a request must be made
A request for legal services support should always be made when:
- An 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.
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. Seeking Agreement to make a Request
Any request for legal services cannot be authorised unless:
- You have discussed the reasons that support is required with your line manager; and
- Your line manager is in agreement; and
- Your line manager has made a record of their agreement to the request on the person's file.
3. Requesting Legal Services
You should proceed to make a request for legal services as soon as possible after you have agreement to do so.
All requests should be made using the Legal Gateway Form.
For support contact Amardeep Grewal, PSW (Amardeep.email@example.com).
4. 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.