Book Review: Reimagining the Court of Protection: Access to Justice in Mental Capacity Law

Published date01 June 2023
Date01 June 2023
Subject MatterBook Reviews
environmental pollution. Lawyers and academics who are exploring international envir-
onmental law and PrIL are sure to be interested in this book.
Shandong University, China
JAIME LINDSEY, Reimagining the Court of Protection: Access to Justice in Mental Capacity Law.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022, pp. 212, 9781108834421, £85.00 (hbk).
There has been a surge in critical interest in mental capacity law of late, with scholars
moving beyond medico-legal and bioethical debates as to autonomy and best interests
and instead bringing mental capacity scholarship into conversation with socio-legal
theory, underpinned by feminist and disability studies approaches. This in many ways
ref‌lects the impact that the UNCRPD has had on this area, provoking and catalysing
new critical approaches as it turns many of the foundational ideas of mental capacity
law on their head. Moreover, the increasing recognition of the reach of mental capacity
law, beyond the medical paradigm that it has most often been associated with (and in
many ways ref‌lected in teaching, with mental capacity featuring as part of Medical or
Health Care Law modules) has demonstrated the need for a deeper understanding of
the role of mental capacity law in society. This critical turn is welcome and has invigo-
rated lively debate and fresh insights for mental capacity scholarship, whilst also inviting
scholars from outside mental capacity law to engage with this area. Lindseys book,
Reimagining the Court of Protection, builds on this critical turn and extends it in import-
ant and productive ways.
In Reimagining the Court of Protection, Lindsey provides an in-depth appraisal of the
workings of theCourt of Protection (CoP), underpinned by a concern forprocedural justice
and access to justice. The CoP is a key institution in mental capacity law, hearing cases
concerned with assessments of mental capacity and best interests, as well as more
mundane paper-based tasks involving property and affairs (although, as Lindsey suggests,
the latter are equally important in terms of access to justice). Despite the importanceof the
CoP, it has not attractedsignif‌icant scholarly attention,with research in mental capacitylaw
tending to focus on the judgments that the CoP produced, rather than the court machinery.
In this sense, Lindseys book is an important reminder of the need to be attentive to these
workings as partof broader calls for progressivereform in mental capacity law.The book is
underpinned by empirical research undertaken by Lindsey over a number of years, includ-
ing in-person andvirtual case observations andinterviews with social workers.It is notable
too that the observations straddled changes prompted by COVID-19, such as the shift to
virtual hearings,and so Lindsey provides some timely ref‌lectionson how this has impacted
access to justice in this area.
488 Social & Legal Studies 32(3)

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