Clients who come to us looking for advice on applying for Guardianship are often anxious that guardianship involves an application to the court and want to know what the Scottish Courts need.
Most are unaware of the procedures and timescales involved and are surprised to learn their application has to be supported by three independent Reports from:
- the adult's GP
- a psychiatrist
- a Mental Health Officer
Why are medical reports required?
The medical reports by the GP and psychiatrist confirm to the court that the adult doesn't have capacity to make financial and/or welfare decisions for himself anymore and that a guardianship order is therefore appropriate. These reports give a brief description of the adult's medical condition and diagnosis and indicate to the court whether their condition is likely to improve or deteriorate over time.
In order to complete their reports, the GP and psychiatrist will meet with the adult and will also discuss the adult's condition with the medical staff involved with their care.
What does the Mental Health Officer's report entail?
Where the guardianship application includes welfare powers, the court requires a report from a Mental Health Officer (MHO) appointed by the Social Work Department of the local Council. The MHO's report is more detailed than the medical reports and focuses on the suitability of the applicants to be appointed as guardian and the appropriateness of the powers sought in the application.
In order to complete his report, the MHO will meet with the adult and will also meet with each person applying for guardianship powers and any other relevant persons.
Do the reports have to be completed within a certain timescale?
Yes - the timing of the reports is crucial. The application to the court must be made within 30 days of the date of the first report. This can be quite tricky to manage and the solicitor making the application must ensure that all parties are available and willing to complete the reports in time.
Need more information?
If you have been advised that a guardianship application may be appropriate for a friend or relative suffering from dementia or other form of incapacity and would like more information, or if you are a medical professional or MHO who would like information about the timescales involved in preparing reports for guardianship applications, please get in touch with our team.