Vulnerable Adults and the Inherent Jurisdiction: Exploring Safeguarding Practice (British Academy Small Grants - £9,726)

Project: Research

Project Details


Local authorities can seek to invoke the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court to safeguard a category of ‘vulnerable adults’ who do not lack capacity for the purposes of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. However, findings from Safeguarding Adult Reviews suggest that local authorities have not always effectively used the inherent jurisdiction to protect vulnerable adults. The purpose of this small-scale, exploratory pilot study is to explore how the inherent jurisdiction is understood in adult safeguarding practice and the extent to which decision-making on whether to seek authorisation from the High Court for protective measures are supported by case law, policies, procedures and guidance. This will enable the development of a larger project identifying potential improvements in practitioner legal literacy, and in the decision-making frameworks within which they operate, may result in better protection of vulnerable adults who fall within the inherent jurisdiction.
Effective start/end date1/08/2331/01/25

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


  • Inherent Jurisdiction
  • Safeguarding Adults
  • Social Work
  • Socio-Legal Practice
  • Legal Literacy