The Court of Protection has always been a hot topic of discussion within the legal sector with their long time scales, complex procedures and somewhat un-sympathetic approach.
However, recent changes to the Court’s application process should result in a positive change when applying to become a Deputy.
What is the Court of Protection?
The Court of Protection is there to deal with legal issues when the person in question ‘P’ has lost capacity. Most commonly, this includes applications for a Deputy to be appointed on P’s behalf in order to manage their financial affairs. There are many reasons why someone may lose capacity; it could be due to an illness such as dementia, an unexpected event such as a stroke or even a sudden accident. If P doesn’t have an attorney that is able to act for them under a valid Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney, then the only recourse for someone to be able to manage their financial affairs would be an application to the Court of Protection.
Historically, being appointed as a Deputy has been a long and drawn out process due to the Court’s ever growing timescales. It was common for applications to take six to twelve months, and sometimes longer, to be finalised. During this time, P’s finances weren’t accessible, leading to months of financial worry for P’s family.
However, earlier in 2023 a new process was introduced to hopefully quicken the process. The differences between the two processes are shown below.
Application is drafted and sent to the Court
The Court ‘issues’ the application, meaning they confirm receipt of the paperwork and ask that P and certain people close to P are notified of the application
P is served with a notice of the application and notices are sent to the relevant people and confirmation is sent to the Court
A few months later, the Court notifies you that the Deputyship Order has been made and requests that an insurance bond is put in place
Once the insurance bond is put in place, the Order is released by the Court,
P and the people close to P are notified of the proposed application
After the period of waiting following the notification, the Application is submitted online to the Court together with confirmation that the relevant notices have already been sent
Subject to their approval, the Court will make the Order and request an insurance bond be put in place
Once the insurance bond is in place, the Order will be released by the Court.
As a profession, we welcome these changes which bring the Deputyship Application process into modern times and hopefully mean a far simpler process for families of client’s who lack capacity.