Book Review: Court of Protection Handbook – a User’s Guide (4th Edition)

 In Book Reviews for Private Client practitioners

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Court of Protection Handbook – a User’s Guide (4th Edition)This is a book review by Gill Steel of Court of Protection Handbook – a User’s Guide (4th Edition) published by the Legal Action Group.


The fourth edition of this classic text is designed as ever to help both practitioner and lay person alike find their way through the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and understand the work of the Court of Protection. The authors are all experts in the field and well-versed in the processes and procedures of the Court of Protection. It is designed to bring together all kinds of resources which is particularly helpful to those who do not have access to a comprehensive library.


The book is divided into four parts across 29 chapters and seven appendices.

A new important chapter has been added to this edition reminding everyone that “We are not Ps we are people”.

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The first part of the book provides an overview of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and of the Court of Protection.

The second section takes you through, in chronological order, the life of an application. There are chapters exploring whether an application to the court is appropriate and if so how to go about it and how to respond to them.

The third part contains a number of chapters on specific issues such as Deprivation of Liberty applications to the Court, medical treatment cases, safeguarding and human rights. There are also chapters on the limits of the Court of Protection’s jurisdiction and on the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court.

The fourth part comprises the appendices which include legislation both primary and secondary; the Civil Procedure Rules as they apply to costs in the Court of Protection; sample statements and letters; checklists and useful addresses and resources.

Structure & Layout

At the start of each chapter there is a list of the topics contained in the chapter and their numbered paragraph references. Each topic has a subheading and within that are numbered paragraphs. There are references to cases, legislation and resources in footnotes.

There are useful diagrams within the text e.g. on page 24 linking the relevant information required to make a decision and whether the person is able to understand it, retain it, use or weigh it or to communicate their decision and if that is because of an impairment or disturbance in their mind or brain.

There are checklists and tables providing useful lists of things which need to be considered in particular situations, such as best interest decision making. There is an analysis of how to test the quality and internal consistency of the case to be brought.

Appendix D contains sample documents which will be helpful to practitioners and lay people alike in providing examples of what to expect and what to prepare.

The list of addresses and resources in Appendix G will be prove useful.


The whole text amounts to a comprehensive tool to help the reader understand the jurisdiction of this still new Court of Protection and to fathom the practices and processes involved.

The use of diagrams, checklists and tables is illuminating as are the sample documents in the appendices.

Clarity & readability

Given the work is not aimed just at the practitioner but also the layman, it is written with clarity, and, despite its size, it remains accessible. For the practitioner and layman alike, it is useful to have in one volume the legislation, guidance and other essential items to understand the complex issues which Court of Protection users face on a regular basis.

Relevance to practitioners

As Sir James Munby, former President of the Court of Protection, said “[this book] should be in the hands of every practitioner and, more particularly, of every lay user of the Court of Protection.”

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