Laura Willis – Associate Solicitor – discusses the news that a court ruling is not needed to withdraw care.

Laura Willis at DBF Law

The Court of Protection has recently ruled that legal permission will no longer be required to end care for patients in a permanent vegetative state. This means that if doctors and close family members believe that it is in the individual’s best interest then doctors can withdraw treatment that will lead to the end of that person’s life without necessarily having to seek approval from the Court. This has been extended to include the removal of food and drink provided that it is in the individual’s best interest. The position prior to this ruling was that even if the close family members and doctors consented then a Judge’s consent was still required in order to withdraw various forms of treatment.

It seems that the Court of Protection has taken into account the decisions tackled by the NHS on a daily basis and also the vast financial and emotional costs borne by families, who wish to make a decision which is in the best interest of their family member without having to go through the lengthy and costly Court process to get approval from the Court. This decision ultimately allows families together with treating doctors to make a decision on behalf of an individual in a vegetative state without the added time, expense and stress of having to go to court.

However, it is important that you have Lasting Powers of Attorneys for Health and Welfare in place that appoint specific attorneys to make this type of decision on your behalf in the event that you lose capacity. If you do not have an attorney appointed to make decisions like this about your Health and Welfare then your next of kin may not have the legal authority to make such decisions and it could then the Doctors who make the overriding decision about these critical decisions.

For more information about Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact Laura Willis on 0161 832 3304 or

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