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Personal welfare disputes in the court of protection

Researchers: Professor Phil Fennell

Project overview

This research aims to provide an overview of the typical welfare work of the Court of Protection (COP); observe COP hearings and compare its processes with tribunals; interview COP and tribunal litigants for their perspectives on policy concerns; use surveys and focus groups to seek judicial, legal, health and social care practitioner views on policy concerns and proposals for changes. A key objective is to promote public understanding of the work of the court, and produce materials to support litigants and practitioners.

The policy concerns around the COP’s very important and sensitive welfare-related work are: whether or not the COP’s processes are sufficiently efficient to meet growing demand for its welfare jurisdiction; whether or not the COP is sufficiently transparent in how it goes about its work; whether or not the COP is sufficiently accessible for disabled litigants and their families. A range of policy proposals have been made to remedy these perceived defects, including shifting to a tribunal (instead of a court) system for resolving disputes, and various suggestions relating to media access and transparency.

Latest on this project


  • Professor Phil Fennell
    Cardiff Law School, Cardiff University

  • Ash Patel
    Programme Head, Justice
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Director, Justice
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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