A court appointed deputy can be anyone aged 18 or above and is usually someone who is a close relative or friend of the person who needs help making decisions, known as the client. Sometimes the COP may choose a professional deputy, especially if the donor has complex affairs – this might be someone like a solicitor, accountant or representative from the local authority. This judgment mostly affects professional deputies who look after property and financial affairs, but all deputies should be aware of the changes following this judgment.
The judgment addresses some key issues which deputies might face; it provides:
- guidance for deputies who might be dealing with a dispute between two or more parties and need to carry out some work in relation to this
- clarity for deputies when managing conflicts of interest, especially when a deputy wishes to provide additional services which are to be delivered by someone from within their own business
New guidance for deputies
In response to this judgment, it was important that the Public Guardian makes it clear how it will affect deputies, so we have produced new guidance to set out our position. All deputies must follow the new guidance by 1 April 2021.
The guidance outlines:
- what is within and outside general authority of property and financial deputies
- information for prospective deputies
- information for existing deputies
- OPG’s role in relation to the judgment
Here are some of the key changes existing deputies should know:
- deputies are expected to be fully aware, understand and follow the judgment of what is permitted within the role of a deputy. You can find more information about the role of a deputy on our gov.uk guidance pages
- a deputy should always be transparent about any potential conflicts of interest
- authorisation from the court is needed for ongoing and future work which falls outside the responsibilities of a deputy as outlined in the deputyship order
- a deputy will need to apply to court for authorisation when a case with potential conflict of interests has costs which are expected to exceed £2,000 plus VAT
Here are some of the key changes property and financial affairs deputies need to know:
- a deputy must seek authorisation from the court to proceed with any contentious litigation work carried out on behalf of the client, unless the case is to be taken to the Court of Protection
- a deputy will need to get authority to use the client’s funds to reimburse a third party for work carried out on the client’s behalf. Deputies are expected to apply to the court for retrospective authorisation in any cases where work was completed or was ongoing after the date of the judgment
If you have read the guidance and have any questions about the expectation from the Public Guardian in your role as a deputy please contact your Supervision Caseworker.
The Court of Protection, handed down a judgment in the matters of ACC, JDJ and HPP, on the 27 February 2020, following a final hearing on 7 October 2019.