Empowerment and the Court of Protection

“But you need people around you to challenge you, set your own limits, and work out how you’re going to get there.”


Last weekend I was amazed by the incredible story of James Cracknell representing Cambridge University in the Boat Race. In 2010, the former Olympic Gold Medal winner suffered serious head injuries when he was knocked off his bike during an endurance event in the USA. It is a remarkable achievement for anyone to take part in the highly coveted Boat Race but James’ achievements stand out when you consider how his road to recovery from a serious accident has seen him not only attain a place studying at Cambridge University but then also go on to earn a place on this team, as the oldest person to ever take part in the race.

As I read the news reports in awe of these achievements his comments quoted above really resonated with the work that I do with clients who have suffered brain injuries and just how important it is to have the right people around you. The PSG Trust Corporation acts as professional deputy for clients who have suffered similar brain injuries to James but as a result of these injuries are unable to make certain decisions regarding their finances.

It is absolutely fundamental to the role of a professional deputy that we ensure that the individual concerned is involved in decision making and that we empower them to make decisions where possible. The work should never involve assumptions or an approach that is overly restrictive on the client’s rights and freedoms. There is an element of safeguarding but this should always be measured and reasoned. I have had many cases where clients have defied professional opinions to achieve goals that were personal to them but considered improbable. A good professional deputy should support the client to achieve their goals rather than becoming a further obstacle. For instance, there is no reason why someone who lacks capacity to manage their financial affairs could not attend Cambridge University as a student and take part in the Boat Race as James did. Where possible their deputy should support them with this as with any other belief or goal that is important to the client.

Well done to James Cracknell and to all those who defy other people’s perceptions of what they can or should be able to achieve.

If you like to discuss deputyship with a member of the Price Slater Gawne team, please contact Tom Young on 07507 875558 or by email to Tom.Young@psg-law.co.uk