Our Helpline:


Our Helpline 0800 612 9660 or 0330 311 2541

The Court of Protection and social media

Latest News

Upcoming Events

September 2023
October 2023
November 2023
Nov 08
January 2024
April 2024
May 2024
September 2024
October 2024
November 2024
December 2024
January 2025

Explore Our Services

The Court of Protection and social media

Social media – love it or hate it, it’s here to stay.

In recent years, the use of the internet and social media to interact with others has grown and is now part of many people’s everyday life.

When used safely and appropriately, it can be a way of connecting with the outside world and having a wealth of information available at our fingertips. But the relative anonymity on social media platforms has also brought about on-line stalking, bullying and the uploading of private images, which can have a devastating effect on people’s lives.

Harmful content on social media has been much in the news recently. At the time of writing this article, the hashtag #bekind is trending following the tragic death of Caroline Flack, where social media comments posted in the months leading up to her death, came under the spotlight as a contributing factor to her mental health.
The Government has said it will look to bolster the powers of OFCOM to force social media providers to act on harmful content and Pope Francis has encouraged people to give up insulting people on social media for Lent.

Mental Capacity and Social Media

In 2019 Brain Injury Group held events around the country focussing on the tricky topic of the use of social media for those who lack mental capacity following the recent case of Re B in the Court of Protection and the Court of Appeal ([2019] EWCOP 3 and [2019] EWCA Civ 913 respectively). In this ongoing matter, Miss B’s use of social media has formed a significant part of the case.

Miss B is a vulnerable adult. She has, in the past, befriended a convicted sex offender and sent intimate photographs of herself to people who she did not know well. The matter initially came before the Court of Protection following a difference of opinion about whether Miss B had capacity in relation to her use of social media and whether the Court and the Local Authority could intervene to stop her putting herself at risk.
The Court was asked to decide whether Miss B had the capacity to make decisions surrounding her use of social media. The Court received expert help and assessments from Miss B’s social worker and a consultant psychiatrist with a specialism in child and adolescent mental health.

The Court provided a checklist of things someone would need to be able to understand in order to make their own decisions on use of social media. This list included use of privacy settings, “friends” on social media not necessarily being friendly to you and content you share with someone may be spread more widely on the internet.
The Court found that Miss B was unable to make her own decisions in relation to her use of social media and the Local Authority will now have the ability to make decisions on Miss B’s use of social media. This could include measures such as imposed supervision, use of filters and using apps with parental controls. However, the Court of Protection stated that any decision must comply with Miss B’s human rights to freedom of expression and privacy and her rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. This was also backed up by the Mental Capacity Act which requires those who are thinking of making a decision on behalf of someone else to use all efforts to allow the person to make their own decision.

The Official Solicitor, representing Miss B, accepted the finding that Miss B lacked capacity to engage in social media but appealed the checklist approach of the Judge. The Court of Appeal, dismissing the appeal of the Official Solicitor, observed,

“Whether the list or guideline of relevant information is shorter or longer, it is to be treated and applied as no more than guidance to be adapted to the facts of the particular case”.

Would you pass the test?

There was much discussion at our events last year about the checklist approach, and in particular the use of privacy settings. People at each event admitted that whilst they know privacy settings exist, they don’t necessarily know where to find them, how to set them or what settings exist on each different social media platform. Would you know where to find your privacy settings and are yours set appropriately?

This article has been written in conjunction with John Holdsworth

John Holdsworth is a Chartered Legal Executive at Brain Injury Group member firm, Barcan + Kirby. He specialises in adult protection and issues dealt with by the Court of Protection. John has appeared in contested applications before the Court of Protection in both financial and healthcare matters.

About Brain Injury Group members Barcan + Kirby

Barcan + Kirby have multiple offices in Bristol. Their brain injury team assist clients across England and Wales, providing a friendly and approachable service to support claimants. For more information, find Barcan + Kirby in our Find a brain injury Solicitor section

About the Brain Injury Group

Brain Injury Group was set up in 2011 to provide people affected by brain injury with a focal point to find people with specialist knowledge of brain injuries to assist them with legal, financial and welfare advice.
In addition to our legal and welfare advice service, our popular website features an A-Z of services and goods specifically of interest to those affected by brain injury, their families and the professionals who support them.
Brain Injury Group is a provider of training to solicitors, case managers, health and social care professional on an array of brain injury topics.

How can we help?

Whether you are considering making a claim, need advice regarding to mental capacity or the Court of Protection, are looking for information on continuing healthcare funding or welfare benefits, or access to a broad range of services and professional support through our online directory, the Brain Injury Group provides a gateway to the support you need.

Contact us

You can find full details of Brain Injury Group members on our website or there are several ways to get in touch:

  1. Call us on 0800 612 9660 or 03303 112541
  2. Email us at
  3. Complete this short enquiry form and we’ll get back to you
  4. Find a specialist brain injury solicitor near to you

Related News And Articles

  • All
  • News
The Summer of Sport

24th Jul 2024

As the school year comes to a close, families will be gearing up to spend some quality time together hopefully in the warmer weather! An opportunity to be more active and get outside. Coupled with... Read more

Cerebral Palsy Sport National Athletic Championships

9th Jul 2024

Brain Injury Group Sponsors Cerebral Palsy Sport National Athletic Championships   Brain Injury Group are proud sponsors of the upcoming Cerebral Palsy Sport National Athletic Championships on Sunday 8th September, taking place at the University... Read more

No-fault brain injury

5th Jul 2024

A brain injury can affect anyone at any time and in some cases as a result of an event that carries with it no fault or blame. Where there is a no-fault brain injury it... Read more

Load More

End of Content.

Supporting individuals and families affected by brain injury


03300 569 510

Brain Injury Group, 55 Spring Gardens, Manchester, M2 2BY.

©2024. BIG Group All Rights Reserved.