In this article, Trainee Solicitor, Alexandra Milson, looks at the pilot scheme for online case management introduced last year by the Court of Protection, and how it could benefit those seeking a deputyship order.
What is a deputyship application for property and affairs?
A deputyship application is where a person applies to manage a person’s property and financial affairs where they have been deemed to lack capacity to do so themselves. A lack of capacity could lead to a person’s financial affairs becoming neglected as well as a risk of exploitation. The application consists of various forms which have to be submitted to the court, some of which require a response from third parties which can cause delays.
What is the pilot scheme?
In the summer of 2021, the Court of Protection introduced an online case management pilot scheme, designed to speed up the process of obtaining a deputyship order. Initially it was piloted via a select number of firms, before being opened up to further firms in January 2022 including Morr & Co.
Before the pilot scheme was introduced, the process for applying to become a deputy was often taking a very long time due to court backlogs. This would in turn mean that, unless urgent, the proposed deputy would have to wait an inordinate amount of time to access to funds and key information which may protect the client from financial repercussions and abuse. For example, during the time that the application is being processed, the proposed deputy cannot pay outstanding bills or fines on behalf of the client as they would have no authority to do so.
What are the main differences?
The biggest impact from the pilot scheme is the reduced time it will take for a deputyship application to go through. The previous process was taking as long as six to nine months. The pilot scheme introduced an ‘upfront notification’ process, whereby contacts of the person lacking capacity (“P”) will be notified before the application is submitted when previously it was after. P will also need to be notified of the application process, which is often done by a third party acting as agent for P. If the notifications to the contacts are not returned within two weeks of the date notified, the application can be submitted, and the order granted within 6 weeks.
What are the benefits of the pilot scheme?
The benefits of the pilot scheme are wide reaching, but the main benefit is the turnaround time for applications to be processed. In addition, as this is an online only platform, it is much more eco-friendly. The ability to process an application electronically means that less paper is needed.
Contact our Private Client team today should you have a family member or close friend that may require the appointment of a deputy for their property and financial affairs.