Court of Protection

We regularly advise on a wide range of issues involving the Court of Protection, which rules on the property and financial affairs, and the health and welfare, of people who lack mental capacity to arrange these matters themselves.

If you have concerns that an elderly or otherwise vulnerable person is no longer able to take legal decisions for themselves, Withers can offer guidance. ‘Dealing with issues that arise when someone has lost capacity to look after their own affairs can be incredibly difficult and requires not only a thorough grasp of the law but also extreme sensitivity to the situation. Our team regularly bring and defend applications in the Court of Protection and have unrivalled experience in both domestic and international matters,’ says Stephen Richards, a partner and member of the elder law team.

We try to avoid costly litigation but if it is in our clients’ best interests we have considerable experience in contested Court of Protection hearings, both bringing and opposing applications. For example we acted in Re MN [2010], a dispute over the enforcement of a Californian order that MN, an elderly woman, be returned to California from England. Stephen Richards and partner Paul Hewitt acted for MN’s niece, who had brought her to the UK from the US, in what is still the leading case on cross-border welfare disputes in the Court of Protection.

Part of a bigger team

Working in close conjunction with colleagues in our wealth planning, probate and trust management teams, we can also advise on lifetime gifts and deeds of variation of estates that require an application to the court. We have a diverse client base of older people and their families and carers, as well as trustees, executors and other fiduciaries.

Members of the team are also able to act as a deputy where an independent professional is required. As a global law firm we are especially well placed to assist conservators of estates with interests abroad. For instance one of our US lawyers, John Farnworth, recently assisted a UK-based conservator whose ward had assets in the US, to deal with those assets. ‘Banks and other entities in the US can be reluctant to recognize a foreign appointment,’ he explains.

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17 April 2020 - Video

Losing mental capacity: protecting your finances and personal affairs

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06 April 2015 - Article

Court of Protection deputyships

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04 October 2019 - Article

World Mental Health Day: Mental Capacity and Power of Attorney

Read More


2022 Chambers UK, leading firm for Court of Protection

Top ranked in Band 1 for Court of Protection

Top ranked in Tier 1 for Court of Protection

Top ranked firm for contentious trusts

Top ranked firm for private wealth disputes

Top tier firm for contentious trusts and probate

Contentious trusts and estates team of the year (2015-2017)

Ranked in Band 1 for private client for the last 16 years


A delightful, proactive team of real professionals. Strengths include their ethos of caring that comes through and their detailed knowledge of this narrow area.


They are very practical and have a balanced approach, which is great. They’re also conscious of the costs of litigation and they make an effort to get to the nub of the matter without going round the houses.


Withers always fights for its clients and presents robust arguments in court.

Legal 500

Withers has a first-class Court of Protection practice. In my view, it is the best in the UK by far in terms of its knowledge, tactical and strategic nous, and skill in delivering the best outcome for the client. Withers stands head and shoulders above all other firms as the best in the business in this area, combining shrewd private client knowledge with a detailed insight into the Court of Protection.

Legal 500 UK, 2020

Meet the team

How the team can help

Track record

Cross border issues relating to Dementia

When our client was diagnosed with an aggressive form of early onset dementia, he was forced to retire earlier than he or his family had expected and planned for. Leaving his job overseas and relocating to the UK brought about greater difficulties. We assisted his children as their father's attorney in resolving a complex retirement and permanent health insurance package with his employers. We also made an application to the Court of Protection for its approval of the package.

Application to the Court of Protection on international assets

Advising our client as attorney for her incapable mother under a registered Enduring Power of Attorney in the UK, she was seeking to sell a number of her mother's properties overseas on her behalf. She was not able to obtain the local jurisdiction order to enable her to do so because her mother was too ill to travel for the necessary medical assessment. We therefore created an innovative application to the UK Court of Protection based on the unusual scenario, using our international expertise.

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