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Written Statements

Volume 462: debated on Wednesday 4 July 2007

Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 4 July 2007

Justice

Court of Protection Rules

I have today laid before Parliament the Court of Protection Rules 2007, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (Transfer of Proceedings) Order 2007 and the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Order 2007.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 establishes a new specialist court, the Court of Protection, with a jurisdiction to deal with decision making for people who lack mental capacity to make those decisions for themselves. The Act as amended provides for rules of court to be made by the Lord Chief Justice (or his judicial nominee), with the Lord Chancellor's agreement, to govern the manner in which proceedings are conducted in the new Court of Protection.

The new court has a jurisdiction to decide issues of capacity, to make decisions and to appoint people to make decisions on behalf of people who lack capacity to make those decisions themselves. The new court will have jurisdiction to make decisions both in relation to the property and financial affairs of people who lack capacity and in relation to their personal welfare. A public consultation on the rules was conducted between July and October 2006. Responses were received from a range of organisations and individuals including organisations representing people who lack capacity, their families and carers. In addition, a group comprising members of the judiciary and legal profession with experience of the operation of the current court and the High Court, under the auspices of the President of the Family Division, has provided advice on the development of the Rules. The new Court of Protection will operate from 1 October 2007.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (Transfer of Proceedings) Order provides for transfers of proceedings between the Court of Protection and a court having jurisdiction under the Children Act 1989.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Order 2007 contains transitional and consequential provisions to the Act. The transitional provisions deal with the transfer of proceedings between the High Court and the new Court of Protection, the Senior Judge of the Court of Protection and pre-existing advance decisions to refuse life-sustaining treatment at the commencement of the Act on 1 October 2007.

Judicial Appointments Commission

The 2006-07 annual report and accounts for the Judicial Appointments Commission will be laid before Parliament today.

I welcome the publication of the first annual report of the Judicial Appointments Commission. The commission plays a vital role in the selection of judges and in making recommendations about judicial appointments to me as Secretary of State and Lord Chancellor.

I am glad that the report reflects the hard work and dedication of the commissioners and staff under the leadership of the Chairman, Baroness Prashar CBE. In particular, the report details the many challenges that the Commission faced and met during its first year of operation including the significant task of managing a challenging selection exercise programme.

I look forward to working with the commission and I know that they will relish the challenge of building on the significant achievements of their first year.

Prime Minister

Council of Europe and Western European Union

My right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) has been appointed as a full representative of the United Kingdom Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Assembly of Western European Union in place of my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Central (Tony Lloyd).