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
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
- Legal Practice Course, London Metropolitan University
- University of Nottingham, BA Law (Hons 2:1)
- Maria has provided training to professionals in the field on the Mental Capacity Act 2005, assessing capacity and determining best interests
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
- “The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards – where are we?” in the October 2012 edition of Quality and Compliance Magazine.
- “Developments in Safeguarding” in the April 2013 edition of Quality and Compliance Magazine.
- "Assessing Mental Capacity" in the October 2013 edition of Quality and Compliance Magazine.
- “Will new regulations help avoid litigation between local authorities?” published by Lexis®PSL Local Government and Lexis®Library on 19 November 2014.
- "Funding -– the main barrier to implementing the Care Act successfully?” published by Lexis®PSL Local Government and Lexis®Library on 14 January 2015.
- “Mapping The Manifestos - Health & Social Care” published by Lexis®PSL Public Law and Lexis®Library on 27 April 2015.
- A guide to Rule 1.2 representatives in the Court of Protection 2016.
- “The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Update 2018"- Expert Care Manager Magazine
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