If there is a valid lasting power of attorney or enduring power of attorney in place an application may not need to be made unless a specific decision needs to be made which is not covered by the authority conferred by either of these powers.
An order of the court will usually be necessary for matters relating to the property and affairs of people who lack capacity to make specific financial decisions for themselves.
Section 5 of the Mental Capacity Act provides protection for carers, healthcare and social care staff to carry out certain tasks without fear of liability including personal care or treatment of people who lack capacity to consent to them. There are important limitations on such acts that can be carried out including instances whereby a person who lacks capacity is deprived of their liberty or if there is inappropriate use of restraint. The Act will enable a person to take action or make a decision in the best interests of someone who lacks capacity.
If informal decision making is not appropriate an application to the Court of Protection is necessary e.g in situations where on-going personal welfare decisions must be made about someone who lacks capacity, where disagreements cannot be resolved or if there is a particularly difficult decision to be made.