When a child who does not have capacity reaches the age of 16 parents or primary carers can no longer make decisions on behalf of the child. As the adult child then goes through the transition process from child to adult services, often many decisions will require to be made. Obtaining Guardianship during this period is sometimes necessary to ensure continuity of social care management and to ensure the rights of the individual are protected. A Guardianship application can be started three months prior to a person turning 16 although the order itself will not be granted until the individual is 16.

Similar to an Intervention Order, a Guardianship order is a court appointment allowing a person to make decisions or take action on behalf of an adult who lacks capacity, to the extent which this is defined in the order.

It is used when the adult has longer-term or often more complex needs in relation to their personal welfare or financial affairs and property.

An initial period of appointment under the 2000 Act is three years but it may be appropriate to seek a longer or shorter period depending on the circumstances of the case.

Find out how guardianship orders work in practice in our Case Studies.