The Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 allows the Court to appoint a "welfare guardian" for a person who has lost the capacity to make decisions for themselves in relation to their personal care and welfare. Generally, only one person may be appointed as a welfare guardian. The commonly known exception to this was where there are "exceptional circumstances" which satisfy the Court that it would be in the interests of that person to do so. However, on 14 November 2018, this test changed.

The Courts are now able to appoint more than one welfare guardian where it is considered to be in the best interests of the person who has lost capacity. There is no longer reference to "exceptional circumstances" which appears to be a lower threshold than what was previously required.

We anticipate that it will no longer be necessary to prove that a person's circumstances are particularly unusual in order to be able to qualify for two welfare guardians. It may be sufficient for the appointment of two jointly appointed welfare guardians to show that it would be more practical for both applicants to be appointed, where for example, both people have been involved in that person's care and welfare for several years.

There is not yet any case law explaining what the difference may be, but the writer is currently applying for an order for two welfare guardians to be appointed and will keep you updated.