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Maria Nicholas

Director/Solicitor

Maria Nicholas is a Solicitor and Director at GN Law, and the Head of the Court of Protection and Community Care Departments. Maria advises on issues of mental capacity, best interests, deprivation of liberty and all aspects of community care law

About Maria  

Maria Nicholas is the Head of the Court of Protection and Community Care Departments.

Maria is passionate about helping individuals achieve the best possible solution to their issue, and about promoting equality for the vulnerable.

Maria advises and represents both the individual seeking support, and their family members. Where the individual lacks the capacity to instruct a solicitor for him/herself, Maria is instructed by a litigation friend, usually the Official Solicitor. Maria is recognised in Chambers & Partners for her Court of Protection work and has particular expertise in:

  • Mental capacity and best interests
  • Deprivation of liberty safeguards
  • Court of Protection health and welfare matters
  • Challenging social care or continuing healthcare assessm[c1] ents
  • Direct payments
  • Complaints to the Local Government and Parliamentary and Health Ombudsmen
  • Appropriate provision of services within the home or in supported living/residential care
  • Disabled facilities grants
  • Judicial review of local authorities and NHS Trusts

Click here to watch Maria's GN Law TV Videos

Education

  • Legal Practice Course, London Metropolitan University
  • University of Nottingham, BA Law (Hons 2:1)

Training

  • Maria has provided training to professionals in the field on the Mental Capacity Act 2005, assessing capacity and determining best interests

Career

  • Paralegal, GN Law 2007
  • Trainee solicitor, GN Law 2008 – 2010
  • Admitted as a solicitor July 2010
  • Director, GN Law June 2012 

Professional Accreditations and Memberships

  • Accredited member of the Law Society Mental Capacity (Welfare) Panel
  • Member of the Court of Protection Practitioners Association
  • Group member of the Mental Health Lawyers Association

Member of MIND

Cases

NCC v PB and TB [2014] EWCOP 14

Maria represented PB in this case, by her litigation friend the Official Solicitor. PB was an elderly lady who wished to reside with her husband of many years. The case concerned very difficult issues of capacity as PB was so articulate and intelligent. The judgment also raises interesting points, some controversial, about the use of the High Court’s inherent jurisdiction.

Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust v RC [2014] EWCOP 1317 

Maria represented the patient in an application by an NHS Trust for declarations relating to a treating clinician’s decision not to impose a blood transfusion on the patient, who was a Jehovah’s Witness, detained in a secure psychiatric hospital. The patient was considered to have capacity and had made an advance decision refusing blood transfusions if he lost capacity. The court respected the patient's capacitous wishes and agreed that the transfusion should not be forced upon him.

HS (A Local Authority v HS [2013] EWHC 2410 (COP) [2013] MHLO 58 

This case, in which Maria represented the father, concerned a vulnerable young lady with Down’s Syndrome who was the subject of safeguarding investigations by her local authority. It is one of few cases in which the Court of Protection awarded costs against the local authority following its poor approach to the safeguarding investigations and the proceedings.

In re NRA and others [2015] EWCOP 59

Maria represented two of the incapacitated adults in this High Court case before the Vice President of the Court of Protection. The case concerned whether the two adults’ residence and care arrangements were in their best interests, and whether there was a deprivation of liberty arising as a result of the care arrangements, and which required authorising. The case also addressed a number of significant issues about how such cases should be dealt with generally, including whether the adult should be a party to proceedings, who can act as their litigation friend if so, and what information the court requires to make decisions on behalf of the adult.

Publications

Personal Interests and Activities 

Maria likes travelling, reading (and is part of GN Book Club), theatre, music, and cooking.

What Clients Say

  • “Thank you for your help in my mum’s case.”
  • “Thank you for all the advice and support you have given our daughter and all the family.”
  • “Thank you Maria for all your help – I got my house and you are a star – I will recommend you to everybody!”
  • She has a very calm and measured approach." - Chambers & Partners 2018