Accredited Legal Representative
There can be a large number of people involved in a Court of Protection proceedings and many of the roles may be unfamiliar. We have pieced together the following information to provide a helpful guide to explain the purpose of an Accredited Legal Representative (ALR).
At David Gray Solicitors, Emma Silburn and Claire Hunter are two members of our experienced Court of Protection team who are accredited legal representatives (ALR’s) under the Law Society’s Mental Capacity (Welfare) Accreditation Scheme.
What is the role of an ALR?
In Court of Protection proceedings, the person at the centre of these proceedings and who is said to lack capacity to make the relevant decisions, is often referred to as ‘P’.
The Court of Protection Rules 2017 require the Court of Protection to consider P’s participation in the proceedings. This can be done in a number of ways, one of which is for P to be appointed an ALR to represent them in the court case.
As P is said to lack capacity about their residence and/or care, they will also often be unable to instruct a solicitor directly too. An Accredited Legal Representative is a solicitor who has been authorised by the Law Society to represent P in those proceedings. An ALR’s role is to ensure the judge and the other parties involved in the case are aware of P wishes and feelings and that all steps taken are in their best interests.
An ALR plays an essential role in ensuring a client is at the centre of proceedings. Amongst a broad range of duties, this will include:
- Meeting with P in order to understand and assess a client’s personal circumstances, vulnerabilities, their needs, constraints, wishes and feelings
- Ensuring that legal advice is informed by appropriate legal and factual analysis, identifying the consequences of different options; and
- Using a range of different communication methods and providing information in a way that vulnerable clients can understand.
Appointing an ALR
When deciding whether to appoint an ALR, the court will consider whether there will be a need for expert or other evidence to be obtained and filed, or other material gathered, on P’s behalf, the nature and complexity of the case, and the likely range of issues.
ALRs can assist the court where urgent orders are required and it would not be possible to appoint a litigation friend in that time. ALRs may also play an important role in narrowing the issues that require the court’s determination.
If the court decides that the matter is not appropriate for an ALR, there are other options available to the court to ensure that P can effectively participate in proceedings.