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The Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986

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Appointment by county court of acting nearest relativeN.I.

36.—(1) The county court may, upon application made in accordance with this Article in respect of a patient, by order direct that the functions under this Order of the nearest relative of the patient shall, during the continuance in force of the order, be exercisable by the applicant, or by any other person specified in the application, being a person who, in the opinion of the court, is a proper person to act as the patient's nearest relative and is willing to do so.

(2) An order under this Article may be made on the application of—

(a)any relative of the patient;

(b)any other person with whom the patient is residing (or, if the patient is then an in-patient in a hospital, was last residing before he was admitted); or

(c)an approved social worker,

but in relation to an application made by an approved social worker paragraph (1) shall have effect as if for the words “the applicant” there were substituted the words “ the responsible [F1authority].

(3) An application for an order under this Article may be made upon any of the following grounds—

(a)that the patient has no nearest relative within the meaning of this Order, or that it is not reasonably practicable to ascertain whether he has such a relative, or who that relative is;

(b)that the nearest relative of the patient is incapable of acting as such by reason of mental disorder or other illness;

(c)that the nearest relative of the patient unreasonably objects to the making of an application for assessment or a guardianship application in respect of the patient; or

(d)that the nearest relative of the patient has exercised without due regard to the welfare of the patient or the interests of the public his power to discharge the patient from hospital or guardianship under this Part, or is likely to do so.

(4) An order made on the ground specified in paragraph (3)(a) or (b) may specify a period for which it is to continue in force unless previously discharged under Article 37.

(5) While an order made under this Article is in force, the provisions of this Order (other than this Article, Article 37 and Article 71(5)) shall apply in relation to the patient as if for any reference to the nearest relative of the patient there were substituted a reference to the person having the functions of that relative and (without prejudice to Article 37) shall so apply notwithstanding that the person who was the patient's nearest relative when the order was made is no longer his nearest relative.

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