Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015

100.

Court friends

100. (1) The Director may or, where section 36(9) applies, shall, in accordance with this section, appoint a person to be a court friend for a relevant person.

(2) (a) A court friend for a relevant person is a person who assists the relevant person in relation to an application under Part 5 in respect of which the relevant person is the subject.

(b) The court, on the hearing of such application, may hear submissions from the court friend on behalf of the relevant person.

(3) Subject to subsections (4) and (5), for the purposes of assisting a relevant person in relation to an application under Part 5, a court friend may—

(a) at any reasonable time, examine and take copies of any health, personal welfare or financial record held in respect of the relevant person by any person, body or organisation, and

(b) interview the relevant person in private or otherwise than in public.

(4) Subsection (3) shall not entitle a court friend to examine and take copies of any health record of a relevant person unless the court friend is a registered medical practitioner.

(5) Prior to taking an action pursuant to paragraph (a) of subsection (3), the court friend shall seek the consent of the relevant person to the taking of such action, unless the Director dispenses with this requirement where—

(a) there has been a declaration under section 37(1)(b) in respect of the person, or

(b) an enduring power of attorney has been registered in respect of the person.

(6) A court friend shall not—

(a) attempt to obtain information that is not reasonably required for the purposes referred to in subsection (3), or

(b) use such information for a purpose other than provided for in that subsection.

(7) A court friend shall take reasonable steps to ensure that any information obtained pursuant to this section is—

(a) kept secure from unauthorised access, use or disclosure, and

(b) safely disposed of when he or she believes it is no longer required.

(8) The Director shall, on an annual basis, carry out checks to ascertain if court friends are complying with subsections (6) and (7).

(9) A court friend for a relevant person shall assist and attend with the relevant person in court or, if the relevant person is not attending the hearing concerned, promote the interests and the will and preferences of the relevant person in court.

(10) A court friend for a relevant person may attend and represent the relevant person at any meeting, consultation or discussion, in connection with an application under Part 5 in respect of which the relevant person is the subject, at which the interests or the will and preferences of the relevant person are being considered, whether or not the relevant person is attending the meeting, consultation or discussion, as the case may be.

(11) A court friend for a relevant person may be appointed for such term and subject to such conditions, and may be paid such remuneration and allowances, as the Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, may determine.

(12) Subsections (2) to (10) shall, with all necessary modifications, apply to a person who falls within paragraph (b) of section 36(8) in respect of a relevant person and to the application under Part 5 which relates to the relevant person as those subsections apply to a court friend for a relevant person and to the application under Part 5 which relates to the second-mentioned relevant person.