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Part of the role of the Court of Protection is to oversee the deputies and attorneys who are responsible for managing the affairs of vulnerable individuals. If someone has concerns about the way in which financial and other matters are being dealt with on behalf of an individual, an application can be made to the Court of Protection to intervene.
At Roythornes, our Court of Protection solicitors are experts in this complex area of law. If you are worried about the actions being taken by a deputy or an attorney or you are a deputy or attorney facing allegations against you, we can give you the advice you need.
We always try to resolve matters out of court wherever necessary, to avoid the time and expense of a trial. We can enter correspondence and negotiations with the other parties and, where necessary, represent you in alternative dispute resolution.
If it is not possible to resolve matters in this way, we can take decisive action to prevent something from happening that is not in the patient’s best interests, including applying to have an attorney or deputy removed.
To discuss how our Court of Protection disputes solicitors in Birmingham can help you, please contact our Birmingham office.
Our Court of Protection disputes solicitors in Birmingham can assist with matters including:
- Disputing an application to register a Lasting Power of Attorney
- Objections to an appointment of an attorney or deputy
- Applications to remove a Court of Protection deputy
- Applications to remove a Court of Protection attorney
- Disputes over mental capacity and advice under the Mental Capacity Act 2005
- Challenging a personal welfare decision
- Disputes over the deprivation of liberty of a patient
- Disputes over the relationships a patient should be permitted to have
- Disputes over gifts made on behalf of a patient
- Disputes over a statutory Will
- Dealing with concerns of mismanagement or misuse of a patient’s funds
- Cancelling a Power of Attorney
- Defending a deputy or attorney against allegations of impropriety
- Representing deputies and attorneys during Court of Protection investigations
A bespoke approach to Court of Protection disputes
If you ask us to represent you in dealing with a Court of Protection dispute, we will assess the situation in detail, identifying the key issues and the best way of resolving matters. We will give you an honest assessment of the strengths and potential weaknesses of your case and discuss the options open to you.
We always work to resolve matters out of court wherever possible. This could be by arranging for a deputy or attorney to step down or securing their agreement to deal with matters differently. Where necessary, we can take steps to have a deputy or attorney removed.
Where there is a particular decision that is causing concern, such as the restriction of a patient’s liberty or an inappropriate use of their funds, we can raise a challenge with the Court of Protection and seek an order preventing it from happening.
Court of Protection disputes FAQs
What is the difference between an attorney and a deputy?
Court of Protection attorneys and deputies have similar roles in representing individuals who are not able to manage their own affairs. The main difference is in the way they are appointed.
Court of Protection attorney
An attorney is appointed by the patient, who is referred to as the donor. The donor will have signed a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or, if they are relying on an older document, an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). This will name one or more individuals that the donor wishes to appoint to act as their attorney, should they ever become unable to make their own decisions.
Before the attorney can act, the LPA or EPA needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. If the individual has made an LPA, this can be in respect of financial and property decisions or health and welfare decisions. They can choose to make both types of LPA and, if they wish, appoint different attorneys for each.
The LPA can include a list of people to notify. These are individuals that the donor would like to be told when the LPA is registered. They will have the opportunity to raise an objection if they have any concerns about an attorney taking over the donor’s affairs.
Court of Protection deputy
If someone is unable to manage their own affairs, but they have not made an LPA or EPA, then their family can make an application to the Court of Protection to have a deputy appointed. The deputy, who could be a close family member or a professional such as a solicitor, will take over the patient’s affairs and manage their finances. The court will not usually give a deputy the authorisation to make general health and welfare decisions unless this is essential.
It is harder to have a deputy appointed than it is to register an LPA, and deputyship involves more long-term supervision. The Court of Protection can stipulate what decisions it is authorising the deputy to make and can limit their power or require an application for the court’s permission to be made before certain actions can be taken, for example, the sale of the patient’s home.
If you need to make a one-off decision in respect of a vulnerable person’s affairs, an application can be made asking the Court of Protection to make an order in respect of the single issue.
How do you remove a deputy?
A deputy has a duty to act in the patient’s best interests at all times. If they have not, or they have exceeded their authority, then the Office of the Public Guardian can launch an investigation. It is also the case that the Court of Protection has the power to remove them if there is proven wrongdoing.
If you have concerns, an application can be made to the Court of Protection setting out why you believe a deputy should be removed. This should include evidence in support of your allegations. We have experience in having deputies removed and can put together a robust application on your behalf, ensuring that the strongest available evidence is included.
If the court decides to remove the deputy, they could face sanctions such as fines and be prevented from acting as a deputy in the future.
How do you remove an attorney?
If someone has been appointed as an attorney under an LPA and they are abusing their position or not acting in the best interests of the donor, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) can be asked to investigate. They have the power to look into allegations and take steps to deal with any wrongdoing. If action is not needed against an attorney, the OPG may offer guidance to the attorney or require the parties to enter mediation.
It is also possible to object to the registration of an LPA or the conduct of an attorney by making an application to the Court of Protection.
How long does it take for the Court of Protection to make a decision?
The Court of Protection will usually take several months to deal with an application; however it is possible to apply for an emergency order if the situation is very serious and there is an immediate risk to the patient and an unavoidable time limit.
Our Court of Protection dispute resolution fees
We will make sure that the likely costs are clearly set out from the start and that you are kept updated throughout the case. We will always make sure that you understand the costs and that we have your consent before the work is commenced. Where possible, we carry out certain work on a fixed-fee basis so that you have certainty about the costs involved.
To find out more about our services and fees, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your situation.
Why choose Roythornes’ Court of Protection disputes solicitors in Birmingham?
Our Court of Protection team have a high level of experience in dealing with Court of Protection matters, including in respect of complex disputes and investigations. We are frequently able to resolve issues without the need for litigation and will always focus on finding the most efficient and effective solution to Court of Protection problems.
The team work closely together to provide expert advice and representation and we always ensure that our clients receive an outstanding standard of service as well as honest and pragmatic guidance.
We will discuss the options open to you and identify the best course of action to achieve the outcome you need.
Get in touch with our Birmingham Court of Protection disputes solicitors
For help in resolving Court of Protection problems in Birmingham and the local area, please contact our Birmingham office.