Author Dr Jaime Lindsey, from Essex Law School, researched mental capacity law in practice by observing Court of Protection hearings, reviewing court files, and conducting interviews with social workers, mediators and lawyers, in addition to theoretical and doctrinal analysis.
The Court of Protection can make decisions about a person’s mental capacity and make best interests rulings on financial, health, or welfare matters for people who may lack the capacity to make their own decisions.
This can include a range of decisions across a person’s life, including decisions about medical treatment, where to live, whether a person can have a sexual relationship or whether they can manage their finances.
Analysing the court through a procedural justice lens, she concludes that procedural justice is not always secured for the person at the heart of Court of Protection cases, as they often do not participate, their experiential evidence is discounted and the court is not designed with the person at the centre of its practice.
This impacts upon their ability to secure access to justice.
Dr Lindsey’s book, Reimagining the Court of Protection: Access to Justice in Mental Capacity Law, outlines her main findings and goes on to make a case for reimagining the Court of Protection as an institution that better secures access to justice for its subjects, with specific recommendations for reform.
The book has been shortlisted by the Socio-Legal Studies Association for the Hart SLSA prize for early career academics, and the Hart SLSA book prize 2023.
Dr Lindsey said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been shortlisted for two prestigious SLSA prizes for my book, Reimagining the Court of Protection.
This is an area which impacts so many people daily and this book, looking at the realities of mental capacity law in practice drawing on empirical socio-legal research, shines a light on the work of this important jurisdiction.”
The winning book in each category will be announced at the annual SLSA conference in April.