Autism, Downs Syndrome, Learning Disabilities & the Law

When a child with a learning disability reaches the age of 16 they are classed as an adult and as such parental rights are extinguished.

It is therefore necessary for parents to make a guardianship application, in order to have legal authority to make welfare decisions on behalf of their child. This allows parents to make decisions regarding for example where their child resides, their education, and medical treatment.

We frequently advise parents who are seeking advice in respect of their child who lacks capacity and is approaching 16 years old. Sometimes parents haven’t realised that Guardianship is necessary and so their child may be older than 16.

Parents are often worried about the cost of guardianship, However legal aid is available on a non means tested basis to assist with the fee which in general should not exceed £600.

We have acted for a number of parents who have a child affected by Autism, Downs Syndrome and Learning Disabilities and offer home visits in order to minimise disruption.

Please call us for further advice on 01383 431 101 or email

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