19 January 2021
Lillian Efstathiou takes a look at the position on visiting loved ones in care homes during the current lockdown.
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Divorce can happen at any stage of a marriage, after only being married a few months or indeed after 60 years. It is always a painful and difficult process. My name is Donald Galbraith, I am a Solicitor and I have been involved in the law for 40 years. Today I am going to advise you on divorce.
Divorce is a three stage process. The first stage is Petition, the second stage is Decree Nisi and the final stage is Decree Absolute. It can take 6 months - it is that long because within the process there are in-built delays in case you want to get reconciled. In order to start a divorce you need grounds of divorce. There are 5 grounds but only 2 are really relevant - unreasonable behaviour and two year separation with consent.
In order to start the process you need to issue what is known as a Petition at your local County Court. You can get the forms either from the Court or there is helpful guidance on our website. You need to fill in the Divorce Petition, you need to enclose the original marriage certificate and the appropriate Court fee. The other side, your spouse, will then have to return what is known as the Acknowledgement of Service. Once that happens you will then be in a position to apply for the Decree Nisi of Divorce, otherwise known as the half way stage. Once Decree Nisi has been pronounced by the Court, and usually you do not need to attend Court for that or indeed any other part of the process, you can then apply 6 weeks later for Decree Absolute of Divorce. If you need any help or guidance regarding a divorce please feel free to telephone either me or indeed any one of my team for a confidential chat either on the telephone or to come to the office.
Why are Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA's) useful? Unfortunately, we live in a time where the prevalence of long-term mentally debilitating conditions like dementia could end up affecting either us or our loved ones. There are many situations in life when you may need someone to make decisions for you on your behalf both in terms of your finances and your health and welfare. You may have heard of or considered making an LPA but might be unclear as to their purpose and why you might need one?
My name is Natasha Hejabizadeha. I am a solicitor at GN Law and specialise in Wills, Trusts and Probate, Court of Protection and Community Care matters. Today I am going to talk about the benefits of making an LPA.
An LPA is a legal document which enables you to delegate certain decision-making powers to another person (i.e your attorney) should you lose the mental capacity to make those decisions yourself in the future. You can only grant someone an LPA when you have the mental capacity to do so.
There are two types of LPA, one for Property and Financial Affairs and the other for Health and Welfare. Both need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (the OPG) before the attorney can act.
An LPA is an official legal document which is universally accepted by all UK institutions once registered. Making an LPA gives you the peace of mind that should you lose mental capacity in the future, you have appointed persons of your choice to manage your affairs. In the event you ever do lose mental capacity and have not made an LPA you will not then be able to grant the power under an LPA and your loved ones will need to apply to the Court of Protection to obtain such powers. This is a longer and much more expensive process.
For these reasons, it is a good idea to put an LPA in place as soon as possible. Many people set them up at the same time as making their will.
That concludes the basics the benefits of making an LPA. This is only an introduction to the issues, so please do take a look at the other videos on this site as they may answer other questions you have. You can also call me or one of my colleagues, for a free chat to see if we can help or you can attend our Wills, Trusts and Probate clinic which runs every Tuesday between 2 and 4pm, for a free 20 minute no obligation consultation with me or one of my colleagues.
Transcript coming soon!
What are the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards?? When and how should they be used?
My name is Maria Nicholas. I am a solicitor and a director at GN Law. I head our Court of Protection department and specialise in mental capacity law. In this video, I’m going to talk about the deprivation of liberty safeguards.
The idea behind the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards? (commonly known as DOLS) is that they are there to protect vulnerable adults who lack the capacity to make a decision about where they should be living.
DOLS will apply where there is an adult who lacks capacity to decide where to live, and they are being deprived of their liberty. Most commonly this situation will arise where the person is living in a care home due, for example, to dementia or a learning disability, but it also arises in hospital settings.
To determine if the person who lacks capacity is deprived of their liberty, you need to ask two questions. Firstly, is the person subject to continuous supervision and control? Secondly, is the person free to leave? If they are subject to continuous supervision and control and they are not free to leave, they are being deprived of their liberty.
A deprivation of liberty needs to be authorised in order to be legal, otherwise it will be an unlawful deprivation, and in breach of that person’s right to liberty under the European Convention on Human Rights. Such a situation can be challenged in court.
A deprivation can be authorised by the court, or by the DOLS. The care home should apply to its supervisory body to request authority for the deprivation of liberty.
The idea is that this offers protection to the vulnerable adult, because there is then something concrete in place which can be appealed against, and which has to be regularly reviewed. Not authorising a deprivation of liberty means that there is nothing formal to challenge, and no obligations on the care home or local authority to review the situation to see if it is still proportionate, and in that person’s best interests. It will also mean that the deprived person becomes entitled to non-means tested legal aid.
This is only a flavour of what the deprivation of liberty safeguards are. There are many cases on the subject, and ongoing changes to the law, with the entire regime due for review by the Law Commission. We will keep you updated as the law develops.
Do call me or one of my colleagues, for a free chat to see if we can help or if you have any questions or concerns.
Call Maria Nicholas or Natasha Hejabizadeha on 0208 492 2290
We hope that you have found this video helpful. This video is designed to be a brief introduction to the topic that it covers. It aims to be informative and to assist people to take the next step in solving the legal problem that they may have. This video does not constitute legal advice and does not seek to solve specific legal issues. If you have a specific legal problem that you need solved, you should take expert legal advice from a solicitor.