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Will the Court of Protection deal with my case during Covid-19?

Will the Court of Protection deal with my case during Covid-19?

The Court of Protection has jurisdiction over the property, financial affairs and personal welfare of people who lack mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Court of Protection’s business priorities are being regularly updated on the Government’s website.  At the time of writing (24.4.20), the following applications are listed as work that the Court of Protection must do:

  • Urgent applications
  • Applications under Mental Capacity Act 2005, s 16A and s 21A (deprivation of liberty cases)
  • Serious medical treatment cases
  • Deprivation of Liberty
  • Form COP1 Statutory Wills – where person is near end of life
  • Safeguarding applications via the Office of the Public Guardians

The Court will determine whether an application is urgent or not and this will depend on the evidence presented to Court.

The Court says that health and welfare cases will be done.

However, “Court of Protection – property and affairs” cases fall into the final category that the Court ‘will do their best to do.’  These are the most common cases in the Court of Protection and include deputyship applications.

The Court deals with a huge number of routine deputyship applications in a typical year but due to coronavirus restrictions and pressures on staffing, we can now expect further delays.

Unfortunately this is likely to cause problems in unexpected ways – such as delays in discharge planning where a deputyship order is needed to access the person’s funds to pay for a package of care.  We know that welfare decisions will be prioritised but if a welfare order is made confirming where a person who lacks capacity should live, there may not be anyone appointed to manage their finances and so it may be impossible or at least more challenging than normal to implement the financial aspects of the care plan.

We have also noticed a delay in receipt of sealed orders, presumably due to staffing issues, which means that applications that were at the point of an order being made are also still held up.

If you are struggling with a case already at Court that you believe has become urgent we may be able to assist in progressing it if there is evidence pointing to urgency.

If you are unsure whether to apply to the Court as a new applicant on behalf of a person who lacks capacity, it may still be advisable to do so to ensure that all the parties involved in the matter are aware that you are actively trying to progress the matter.

It is also possible to apply for an appointeeship for benefits for a person who lacks capacity with the DWP which may assist on a short term basis.

We can also assist if you already act as financial attorney or deputy and need advice on your duties, or if you have any concerns about your role.

For Court of Protection enquiries please contact Alison Lamont at Alison.lamont@wards.uk.com, or click here to view the Court of Protection team.

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