THE COURT OF PROTECTION
If a person loses or lacks the mental capacity to manage their own property and financial affairs, the Court of Protection may appoint a Deputy to manage the person's affairs on their behalf.
The Court may appoint a Professional Deputy, a trusted friend or a relative. A Deputy is supervised by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). For more information about a Deputy's responsibilities, please consider the government guidance.
Every person is different, with their own unique set of relationships, challenges and needs. Therefore, there are no clear rules governing whether a Professional Deputy should be appointed in a particular matter. Rather, the Court will determine whether a professional Deputy should be appointed after considering the incapacitated individual's best interests.
Some factors which may suggest it is in the incapacitated person ('P')'s best interests for a professional to be appointed could include:
- A lack of relatives or friends who are actively involved in P's care or who are willing and able to act as Deputy
- Complex needs or issues which may need to be resolved
- Conflict or potential conflict within a family or between a family and care professionals
- Suspicions regarding financial safeguarding
- Large assets or liabilities
If you are unsure about whether a professional Deputy should be involved, or simply wish to discuss a matter which may or may not be suitable for a referral to the Court of Protection, please contact us by telephone, email, or by making a referral. Any advice we provide is free of charge, without obligation, and entirely impartial.
COURT OF PROTECTION DEPUTY SERVICE
Our specialist, person-centred Court of Protection (COP) Deputy service is underpinned by our core values of empathy, integrity, and transparency.
Typically, Professional Deputyships are dealt with by solicitors working in a private-sector law firm. As a nonprofit social enterprise, we deal with Deputyship differently. For us, the absolute priority is the best interests of the protected party (often referred to as ‘P’ in Court of Protection cases). By removing the profit-motive, we can focus entirely on achieving the best outcomes for our clients. Our motivations and core values are instead based upon the delivery of an exceptional, bespoke, empathetic service.
Every one of our Deputyships is dealt with by a specialist, expert solicitor. We believe we are the only nonprofit organisation in the UK providing this level of expertise.
The fact that we are a nonprofit organisation means that our objective is not to generate fees or profit from the management of our client's affairs. Rather, our objective is to act in their best interests.
We recognise that every client is an individual, with their own particular wishes, feelings, challenges and needs. Consequently, we adapt our services to suit the particular needs of our clients in order to maximise their independence, safeguard their finances, and allow them to enjoy their lives to the full.
HOW TO REFER OR REQUEST ADVICE
People who lack capacity to manage their own property and finances are often unable to seek out the support or services they need. Instead, many vulnerable people rely on their support-networks to obtain advice or make referrals on their behalf. For more information about how to make a referral please click here.
We are aware that many carers, third sector professionals or relatives may be daunted by the prospect of contacting a Solicitor to obtain advice for a person in their care. This may result in a denial of justice or support for those vulnerable people.
In order to promote access to justice, and to safeguard vulnerable people effectively, we provide a free, confidential advice line for professionals, carers and relatives of vulnerable or incapacitated people.
We call this the COP-Line. For more information, click here.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
We are a nonprofit social enterprise.
This means that our core objective as an organisation is to achieve positive social outcomes for society, as well as our individual clients.
One of our core values is transparency. Therefore, we want to make sure the full details of any and all charges are set out clearly and transparently. The majority of our services are provided free of charge. However, some of our services are paid for directly by the client or the protected party.
We receive funding through grants, donations and by charging fees for our professional services. These fees are paid directly to the social enterprise in order to further our social objectives. We do not have shareholders and we do not generate profit.
Our Professional Deputy services are charged in accordance with the rules set out by the Court of Protection Rules Practice Direction 19B. The charges are paid by the incapacitated person ('P') themselves - not by any professional body, carer or third party who makes a referral on their behalf. If P has a low level of capital, or is in receipt of certain means tested benefits, the amount that can be charged is capped at 4.5% of the person's net capital.
The Court of Protection rules set out the fixed costs which can be charged for a Court application (£950) and an annual amount which can be charged for the management of affairs (which is currently £1,670 for the first year, and £1,320 for each subsequent year). In some complex cases, the fees charged by a Professional Deputy will instead be assessed by the Court in order to determine a reasonable and proportionate sum.
We believe that our flexible, holistic approach, which is based around P's best interests - not upon generating a profit - will result in fees far lower than those charged by a traditional law firm or a high street solicitor.
In addition to our core value of transparency, we also pledge to work with the utmost empathy and integrity. Consequently, we will take steps to minimise our costs and charges wherever possible.
If you have any further questions then please don't hesitate to get in touch.