The Court of Protection has authority in England and Wales but over the last year, we have worked on multiple cases where this authority has been needed overseas. This has occurred when individuals have lost capacity abroad, for example through brain injury caused by a stroke. This can be an incredibly stressful time for family members at home who are unable to be with their loved ones, especially during the pandemic when flights have been limited.

Mrs X (who is a British National normally residing in England) was on holiday with her partner in China when she suffered from a stroke and became incapacitated. China law states that in order for her partner to give authority to act on her behalf, the law of England and Wales will apply. Mrs X’s partner instructed us to make an urgent Court of Protection application on his behalf to obtain legal authority to be able to manage Mrs X’s finances to:

  • Ensure her payments for her mortgage in England were being paid;
  • Access her bank accounts to ensure she has any essential items that she may need;
  • Consider collecting funds to repatriate Mrs X back to England when she was medically fit to;
  • Pay medical bills in China as they accrue; and
  • Claim on any insurance policies to help cover the cost of medical bills.

This list is non-exhaustive, but it gives an idea of the types of issues that become urgent when someone suddenly loses capacity abroad. If you can show that the individual’s welfare is in danger without the Court of Protection authority (E.g., if we cannot access Mrs X’s bank accounts urgently to pay for medical bills, the hospital will stop treating her), we can then make an urgent application.

Once we urgently obtain the Court of Protection Order, it is important to ensure that it has been authenticated/legalised by the Foreign Commonwealth Office and relevant embassy otherwise it will not be recognised abroad.

For more information

If your loved one has found themself in this unfortunate position whilst abroad, please get in touch with Puja Desai to can discuss your options.