North Wales and Shropshire lawyer is one of first to be appointed to new Mental Capacity panel

A respected North Wales and Shropshire based Mental Health and Mental Capacity lawyer has become one of the first accredited members to be appointed to a new panel developed by the Law Society.

The Mental Capacity (Welfare) Accreditation scheme was developed by the Law Society in conjunction with the Court of Protection. Its aim is to acknowledge the expertise of legal representatives in the rapidly expanding area of Mental Capacity and Court of Protection law, and to establish a panel of experienced solicitors whom the Court can appoint directly to represent vulnerable people prior to important decisions being made about their welfare.

John Lancaster, a Senior Solicitor-Advocate at leading North Wales and Shropshire law firm GHP Legal, has produced newsletters and appeared on television and radio on the subject of Mental Health, Mental Capacity and Family law. Now, as one of the first wave of members appointed on October 1st, he has welcomed the new panel.

“Since I first started representing Mental Health patients detained in hospital, and taking their appeals to Tribunals I have seen a steady increase in the need also for Mental Capacity representation,” he said, “and I find Mental Capacity work rewarding and fulfilling. To gain accreditation I had to prove at least three years’ experience in this area of law.

“Many of my clients are residents deprived of their liberty in care homes and decisions about where they live and about their care are being determined in the Court of Protection.

“Today there is willingness on the part of Parliament and of the Courts to assert the rights of vulnerable people, who often have significant impairment such as dementia and learning disability, and to make decisions for them in their best interests whilst at the same time empowering them by involving them as far as is possible in those decisions. Clearly this brings a need to ensure they have specialist legal representation to ensure the Court protects and acts in their best interests and the new panel provides that.”