What does the Court of Protection do?
The Court of Protection makes decisions on financial or welfare (including health) matters for a person (referred to as “the Protected Party”) who cannot make decisions at the time they need to be made, as they lack the mental capacity to do so.
The Court decides whether the Protected Party has the mental capacity to make a particular decision for themselves. The Court has the power to appoint an individual (referred to as a Deputy) to make important decisions regarding the Protected Party’s health, welfare, property and finances. A relative, close friend or a solicitor can be appointed by the Court to take on this responsibility.
If the identity of the Deputy cannot be agreed, or if there is no suitable candidate available, the Court will appoint a Deputy (selected from a panel of specialists) to fulfil the role and protect the interests of the Protected Party.
In appropriate circumstances, a family member or a professional can submit an application to the Court of Protection for partial or complete authority over the incapacitated or vulnerable person’s affairs and day-to-day decision making.
The activities of the Deputy, whoever they are, and however appointed, will be overseen by the Court.
The Court of Protection usually only tends to get involved when there is no registered Power of Attorney. However, if the Court can get involved if there are concerns regarding the activities of an Attorney appointed under a Power of Attorney.
What can I do if I am concerned about wrongdoing by a Court of Protection Deputy or an Attorney?
When concerns arise about whether a Deputy or Attorney is acting in the best interests of a Protected Party, there is a way to address this. Often, concerns can be addressed outside of Court, depending on the seriousness of the concerns in question.
Our contentious Court of Protection solicitors can help you to report your concerns to the Court of Protection.
With our cross-departmental expertise, we can also support you in applying to appoint a new Deputy for the Protected Party.
Chris Partington, the Head of our Private Client department, is a Court of Protection Panel Deputy. He was appointed to the Office of the Public Guardian’s Guardianship Panel in February 2020.
Contentious Court of Protection Proceedings
Below is a non-exhaustive list of some of the potential disputes in which a contentious Court of Protection disputes solicitor can assist:
- Objections to deputyship applications;
- Disputed Statutory Will applications;
- Applications to challenge the actions of an Attorney;
- Applications to challenge the actions of a Deputy;
- Applications to remove an Attorney or Deputy;
- Allegations of financial abuse
- Concerns regarding safeguarding issues;
- Concerns regarding payment of care home fees; and
- Acting on health and welfare applications.
It is usually sensible to contact the Office of the Public Guardian with details of your concerns. You may wish to take this initial step yourself, but our contentious Court of Protection specialists can also advise you in relation to the following:
- Understanding the rights, duties and obligations of the Attorney or Deputy in question (these are not always the same);
- Finding out whether the Attorney or Deputy has acted unlawfully; and
- Compiling details of your concerns for the Office of the Public Guardian to consider.
There can be occasions where applications to the Court of Protection are contested, usually by family members. This may concern their disagreeing and objecting to the appointment of a particular person as an Attorney or Deputy. Perhaps there are concerns that an attorney is not acting in the best interests of a person, or there are objections to the terms of a proposed statutory will.
In those circumstances, we can advise on applications to the Court of Protection, in terms of procedure, the evidence required and the orders the Court can make.
Speak with a Specialist
Our team has extensive experience of dealing with disputes arising in the Court of Protection. Dispute Resolution Consultant Solicitor, John Gorner specialises in this area. He has vast experience of successfully resolving disputes, both before and after the issue of Court proceedings, and often involving Alternative Dispute resolution methods such as mediation, early neutral evaluation and joint settlement meetings, throughout his career.
We are happy to discuss how we can help you to deal with these types of claims in an efficient yet sensitive manner, in the best interests of our client and, importantly, the person to whom it relates.
Call us on 0161 969 3131 or fill in the form at the top of this page with your enquiry and the dispute resolution team will be in touch.