Court of Protection User Group meeting – 27 October 2021
- There has been a 35% increase in applications to the Court of Protection over the last two quarters (16,762 applications)
- There has been a 4.5% decrease in orders being made
- 10 additional staff members have been recruited
- The digital deputyship pilot scheme has reduced average time to 13 weeks from submission to the order being issued
- The upfront notification pilot has reduced the average time to 2.7 weeks
- A digital document upload centre is being piloted with the OPG for court bundles.The court is hoping to roll this out further.
- Please ensure COP20s are either sent by email to: [email protected] or by post.Do not use any other email address.
- Additional fee paid COP judges will be sitting in the South East from January
Ministry of Justice update
- The LPA modernisation consultation closed on 13 October.There were over 300 responses, 100 from members of the public.The Ministry of Justice is hoping to publish its response in Spring 2022.
- The new Court of Protection Code of Practice will include guidance relating to the Liberty Protection Safeguards.The Code of Practice has been sent to new ministers following the government’s reshuffle and this has delayed wider consultation.
- The implementation date for Liberty Protection Safeguards remains April 2022.
- The Ministry of Justice will be examining whether there should be a simplified process for accessing small payments including Child Trust Funds.
- Court of Protection fees increased on 30 September 2021 in relation to application and hearing fees.The income level for fee exemption has also been increased.
- The Court of Protection application pilot scheme has been successful.
- The review of fixed costs has been frozen pending review of small payments.
Responses to attendee questions
Local authority COP4s
The Court of Protection has historically not required individual COP4s to be submitted as part of local authority applications to be appointed as deputy. The court is carrying out an audit of master COP4s and will ask individual local authorities to update theirs where needed.
Although the OPG may still require COP4s to be submitted where the local authority is approached to act as a replacement deputy, DJ Buckley suggested that local authorities should still at the very least email to confirm their acceptance of the appointment.
HHJ Hilder acknowledged court delays
Please do not chase the court for a response until the expiry of the average time period (20 + weeks)
Where an ACC application becomes urgent, it is acceptable to file a COP9 requesting the matter be dealt with as a matter of urgency
It was mentioned that some firms are reluctant to provide ACC quotes. HHJ Hilder emphasised that if firms cannot make the ACC requirements work (asking for quotes), it may be that firms will no longer be able to instruct in house at all
There has been a change to the training provider and this has affected the appointment of further ALRs
Open Justice project
Celia Kitzinger mentioned that there is sometimes a delay in receiving approval to attend hearings. She also requested that the parties (or judge) provides a brief overview at the beginning of the hearing but both HHJ Hilder and DJ Owens both stated that this can be difficult due to time constraints and that these are often a continuation of proceedings
Appointment of lay and professional deputy
HHJ Hilder suggested that where an application for the joint appointment for a lay and professional deputy is made, a brief statement explaining why this is in P’s best interests is included. She also noted that there may be limitations on insurance cover for professional deputies in this situation but that it is the responsibility of the firm to determine this.
These are increasing. The court is now using software called Case Finder which is assisting.
Please ensure you use the PBA rather than sending cheques
Property and financial affairs specific group – 19 January 2022
Court User Group – 20 April 2022
(Author: Holly Chantler)