Court of Protection & Lasting Powers of Attorney

In a well publicised decision, the Court of Protection has ruled that life sustaining treatment can be withdrawn from a Police Officer and British War Veteran.

In July of last year, Paul Briggs, 43, was involved in a serious motorcycle accident while working as a police officer in Merseyside resulting in a severe brain injury.

Paul Briggs, 43, suffered a severe brain injury in a motorcycle crash while working as a police officer in Merseyside in July last year. He has been in a minimally conscious state in hospital for 17 months. His family brought proceedings in the Court of Protection so that the medical treatment he is receiving can be withdrawn as it was their position that Mr Briggs would not have wanted to continue receiving medical treatment in his current condition. Unfortunately, Mr Briggs had not put in place any form of advance directive regarding medical treatment or put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney in relation to his health and welfare.

Mr Justice Charles, hearing the case at the Court of Protection, ruled in favour of the family stating that it would not be in Mr Brigg’s best interests for his medical treatment to continue and, therefore, it should be withdrawn with palliative care put in place. However, the Official Solicitor, acting on behalf of Mr Briggs in this case, has sought leave to appeal the decision.

Partner at Dickinson Parker Hill, Michael Prendergast, has said, ‘The unfortunate and difficult circumstances of this case, highlight the importance of discussing your wishes regarding life sustaining treatment with your family and, more importantly, the need to put in place Lasting Powers of Attorney so that if the worst happens your family have the authority to make these types of difficult decisions on your behalf.’

Most people in England and Wales do not have Lasting Powers of Attorney in place and think that they only apply to elderly people. However, Michael Prendergast said, ‘Everybody who can, should put in place Lasting Powers of Attorney in relation to their finances and their welfare. Often the cost of doing so can put people off but it should be viewed as an insurance policy against the unexpected, as with any insurance policy.’

For more information about Lasting Powers of Attorney click here or call our offices on 01695 574 201 to speak to one of our solicitors.

For local news coverage of the issue, click here.