Becoming a Decision-making representative

If a person is unable to make certain decisions, the court will be able to appoint a decision-making representative to them. This will be written down in a decision-making representation order.

The decision-making representative’s role is to make certain decisions on the person’s behalf. The court lists all of the decisions that the decision-making representative can make. This may include decisions about property and money matters, as well as decisions about personal welfare.

Where possible, the court picks someone the person knows and trusts. If there is no one suitable who is able to do the role, the court can pick a decision-making representative from a panel of experts maintained by us.

If you are appointed as a decision-making representative, you can only make the decisions that are listed in the order. You must take into account the person’s wishes when making decisions. You must also involve them in the decision making as much as possible.

Who can be a decision-making representative?

You can become a decision-making representative if you are an adult (18 years and over) and the court thinks you are a suitable person for the role.

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What is involved in being a decision-making representative?

As a decision-making representative, your role is to make certain decisions on behalf on the person as their agent. You must ensure the decisions you make are in line with the person’s wishes as much as possible.

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Monitoring and supervision

Decision-making representatives are supervised by the Decision Support Service and have to send a written report to us every year.

These reports include details of big decisions taken as part of the order.

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How do you become a decision-making representative?

A decision-making representative is appointed by the court in a decision-making representation order.

Any person can make an application to court in relation to a person’s capacity to make certain decisions if they can show that they have a true interest in the welfare of the person. The court decides whether or not you are suitable for the role. If the court decides to appoint you, it lets us know and sends us a copy of the decision-making representation order.

This type of application is made to the Circuit Court. The requirements for making this type of application are written down in court rules. You can find more information about court rules on the Courts Service website.

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How to find out if someone is a decision-making representative?

When the court appoints a decision-making representative, it lets us know and sends us a copy of the decision-making representation order.

We keep a register of decision-making representation orders.

Certain people and organisations, like banks, lawyers and doctors, can search this register. Family members and carers may also ask to search to register if they have a good reason to do so. We can confirm that an order is in place. We can also give them a certified copy of the order.

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Making a complaint about a decision-making representative

Any person can make a complaint to us about a decision-making representative. Complaints must be made in writing and must be for one of the following reasons:

  • the decision-making representative is making, or is trying to make, decisions that are not included in the arrangement
  • the decision-making representative is not suitable for the role

Find out more about making a complaint about a decision-making representative