At Lanyon Bowdler, we strive to be the best in our respective areas of law and for our staff to be expert in what they do.

However, we understand that legal jargon can be a bit confusing and overwhelming and sometimes you need someone to explain what these terms mean.

In troubling times you may not know where to go first. Personally when I'm dealing with enquiries that come to the Court of Protection Department, I am often asked about the meaning of certain terms or phrases that people may have come across before they have approached us. Therefore, I've prepared a guide to break down the jargon and to help you.

Appointee
An appointee is someone appointed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to help manage your benefits for you, if you are not able to manage them yourself.

Applicant
Person or persons making the application. This may be the person applying to be deputy, an existing deputy or attorney, or someone else.

Attorney
Someone who has been appointed under an enduring power of attorney (EPA) or a lasting power of attorney (LPA) to make decisions on behalf of the person who created the EPA or LPA. Attorneys can be appointed to manage financial decisions and/or for health decisions.

Best interests
An act or decision that is made in the bests interests of a person who is unable to make that decision themselves.

The Mental Capacity Act has a best interests checklist, which outlines what people need to consider before taking an action, or decision, for someone who lacks capacity.

Bond
Commonly referred to as a deputy bond. The Court of Protection requires all property and affairs deputies to get a 'surety bond' (also called a 'security bond'). The bond is similar to insurance in that it protects the assets of an incapacitated person ("P") who has a property and affairs deputy appointed. The level of security is set by the court and a premium is calculated each year of the deputyship which is payable from P's funds.

Capacity
The legal definition is set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA 2005). Under the MCA 2005, the starting assumption is always that a person has mental capacity. It is important to understand that capacity is both time and decision specific so for example, someone may have capacity to decide to reside in a care home, but may not have capacity to manage their financial affairs in order to pay for that care.

Capacity assessment
This is a formal assessment of whether a person has capacity to make specific decisions, such as whether they are able to manage their own property and affairs.

CoP
You will often hear this abbreviation from us. This stands for the Court of Protection which oversees applications regarding people who lack capacity to make decisions for themselves.

Damages
The money received following a successful personal injury or clinical negligence claim.

Deputy for Property and Financial Affairs
A person or people appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the property and affairs of the person who lacks capacity to do so themselves.

EPA
An enduring power of attorney or EPA is a document appointing an attorney. EPAs can no longer be created, however, if a person has an EPA made before October 2007 then these can still be used providing the right steps are taken regarding registration.

LPA
A lasting power of attorney or LPA is the new version of an EPA. This is a legal document that lets a person (the 'donor') appoint one or more people (known as 'attorneys').

Panel Deputy
Panel deputies are often referred to as the 'deputy of last resort' and are appointed when there are no suitable alternatives.

Respondent
Is a person who is involved in proceedings but did not make the application. Respondents may be someone who is objecting to an application, or who have been joined as a party due to them having an interest in a matter which the court believes they should be included in.

Official Solicitor
The Official Solicitor acts as a last resort litigation friend and in some cases solicitor, for children (other than those who are the subject of child welfare proceedings) and for adults who lack mental capacity.

Office of the Public Guardian
The Office of the Public Guardian or OPG are a government body who govern deputies.

OPG Report
Each deputyship year, financial deputies are required to provide an account of all spending in that reporting period to the OPG. The OPG have prescribed reporting formats which differ depending on the level of assets the person has.

SCCO
The Senior Courts Cost Office are the designated court who assess the costs and expenses incurred in certain applications or ongoing matters.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.