High Court rules that patient cannot make a valid decision even when mentally capable temporarily if a deputyship is in place

Jhangir Bashir had sustained brain injuries in an attack in 1993 and received a large criminal compensation award of over £1.5m.  Following the appointment of his sister, Rabia, as his deputy in 2008, £1.3m of the compensation funds went missing.  A new deputy was appointed who brought proceedings against Rabia.  

Rabia offered to settle the amount she owed her brother in the sum of £140,000.   And Jhangir wrote to accept this settlement. 

But the High Court has ruled that even if Jhangir had sufficient mental capacity on the day he wrote the note of acceptance he was not able to enter into an agreement because he was within the jurisdiction of the Court of Protection because a deputyship was in place.   The agreement is therefore void. 

The decision is interesting because it goes against the general principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 which presume an adult has the capacity to make their own decisions and encourage patients to take part in decision making. 

However, the ruling is very helpful to deputies and advisers because it provides certainty. 

'even if the claimant had regained capacity during the relevant period, he could not, as a matter of law, enter into a binding agreement' Master Clark