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What is a COP3 Mental Capacity Assessment Form?

Updated: Mar 26

So what exactly is a COP3 Mental Capacity Assessment Form? When applying for an order from the court of protection, a mental capacity assessment for the specific decision is a general requirement.


This mental capacity assessment is decision specific, for example, an application for deputyship for finances or an application for a statutory will to be created.


The principles of the Mental Capacity Act (2005) state we should always assume someone has capacity unless proven otherwise, and we approach every assessment from this viewpoint.


The majority of decisions assessed for the court of protection are based upon the two-stage test outlined in the Mental Capacity Act (2005)


The two-stage test to assess mental capacity, as outlined in the updated guidelines following the Mental Capacity Act (2005), involves:


  1. Stage 1 - The Functional Test: This stage inquires whether the person is unable to make a particular decision at the time it needs to be made. To determine this, one must assess whether the individual can:

  • Understand the information relevant to the decision,

  • Retain that information long enough to make the decision,

  • Use or weigh up the information as part of the process of making the decision,

  • Communicate their decision (whether by talking, using sign language, or any other means).

  1. Stage 2 - The Diagnostic Test: This stage assesses whether the inability to make a decision is due to an impairment of, or a disturbance in the functioning of, the person's mind or brain. This could be because of conditions like mental illness, dementia, learning disabilities, or temporary states such as confusion or unconsciousness, possibly resulting from substance use.

It's emphasised that every effort should be made to support the individual in making their own decisions, including finding effective ways to communicate. The assessment must be based on the "balance of probabilities"—is it more likely than not that the person lacks the capacity to make the decision? Importantly, the assessment is decision-specific, recognizing that an individual may have the capacity for some decisions but not others, reflecting a nuanced understanding of mental capacity.


In those instances where the outcome of the assessment is that the person does lack sufficient mental capacity to make the specific decision then the court requires a Social Worker or other Health and Social Care Professional to complete form COP3.



Form COP3 (an 'assessment of capacity') is used to submit an expert opinion about someone's mental capacity as part of an application to make decisions for them.


Part A of the COP3 is generally completed by a solicitor or other legal professional representing you. If you don't have someone representing you, then Part A of the COP3 form is usually completed by the applicant directly.


Nellie Supports Social Workers are experts in completing mental capacity assessments and in those case where someone is deemed as lacking sufficient mental capacity they can ensure COP3 forms are complete fully and to the standards the court of protection requires.



You can read more about our COP3 service here

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