The Court of Protection faces its faults


Justice Secretary Jack Straw has appointed two senior judges to oversee the 'simplification' of the Court of Protection, which exists to protect the financial affairs of people who have lost their mental capacity.

Mr Justice Charles and Mrs Justice Proudman will be the chairs of a committee established to take a close look at whether or not the Court provides an 'effective service'.

When someone is not capable of dealing with their own financial affairs – perhaps an elderly parent or grown up yet mentally-impaired son or daughter – the Court of Protection can appoint a 'Deputy' to manage their affairs on their behalf.

Yet it seems that the Court itself, along with its administrative arm the Office of the Public Guardian, can barely manage its own affairs. Since their inception in 2007, the two have faced nearly 4,000 complaints between them and the Court is accused of mismanaging the £2.7billion it manages on behalf of the most vulnerable people in society.

The Court bars the media and public from its deliberations and only occasionally publishes its judgements. What’s more, the massive sums of money the Court controls are held in a Bank of England account paying a paltry interest rate – even in the current economic climate, if the sums were held in High Street banks they would be worth up to eight times what they are worth in Threadneedle Street.

More and more people are coming forward to complain about the Court and its cumbersome systems.

Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors can help you if you have a relative or close friend who does not have the capacity to deal with their financial affairs. For example, we can assist if you wish to make a deputyship application or an application to make a will on their behalf.

We can act as professional deputy in certain cases. In our dealings with the Court of protection, we ensure that the interests of the person without mental capacity are our priority.

Do bear in mind that it is becoming more and more common to establish Lasting Power of Attorney, where a person nominates someone to look after their affairs should they become unable to do so. This reduces the involvement of the Court of Protection.

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