The England and Wales Court of Protection

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© UK Supreme Court flickr
Members: Of the Worshipful Company of Bakers with Lord Neuberger in the centre.

Is it acting in the best interests of the vulnerable?

THE recent reports we published with regards to Michael and Ann Clarke have not only brought a number of comments from readers about that case, but have also resulted in messages from individuals who appear to have been treated in similar ways by the Court of Protection.

This particular court, which was created as recently as 2007, has some very important ideals, but due to apparent secrecy in its activities and allegations of partiality and protection of members of the legal profession who may or may not have acted for their own benefit or incompetently, there appears to be very little trust in its activities.

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The concept is without doubt a good one as the court is supposed to step in when it appears that an individual may be incapable of making rational decisions in their own right, or may be likely to be financially disadvantaged by members of the family or carers.

One of the most repeated areas of criticism is that when ‘legal professionals’ are appointed to effectively control an individual’s money, the cost of the control often far exceeds the amount of money that they are granted to live on.

Due to the fact that this whole matter is very emotive, we have to be alert to the fact that matters may be overstated or magnified to make the situation appear worse than it is, but various national newspapers in the UK have campaigned for more transparency and fewer closed courts in order to ensure that people are treated with dignity and fairly.

One woman was sent to prison in secret because she had removed her father from enforced care, another woman lost everything because local social services didn’t want her to stay in her own home and she had to fight to have carers of her choice not theirs. 

Michael Clarke is threatened with imprisonment unless he returns to the UK, apologises to the court and surrenders his mother’s passport.

Others argue that despite the fact  they or their relatives have not been medically proven to lack mental capacity, they have still been taken under the control of the Court of Protection.

If just one person is proven to have been hurt physically, mentally or financially by the very body that is supposed to protect them, then the whole system will need to be dismantled and replaced by a fair and open system, which treats all of the cases properly and there should be strict limits on the amounts that ‘professional deputies’ can charge for their services, which should basically cover their costs but not allow them to earn more than they dole out to those they are supposed to protect.

The current President of the Supreme Court, England’s most senior law lord, the Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, is on record as having complimented the campaign for greater transparency with the Court of Protection. Whilst information may become apparent more speedily, little seems to have been done to actually control its powers over some of the most vulnerable members of society.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Robbed of my vote in the referendum.
    I applied to vote in the referendum in February 2016
    I was sent by email a form to sign which was already filled in with my details including my address in Mallorca. In March I again requested information as to what the procedure was to vote from my current address I was informed an email would be sent and a hard copy in the post. I waited for them to arrive. Neither did. Yet another email and another wait for a reply, by which time I was informed the date for accepting postal votes had passed and a proxy vote could not be processed in time. How many other votes were “not processed in time” enough to have changed the result ??

  2. The good old court of protection made my family homeless, including two children and two young adults with learning disabilities and chronic serious medical conditions. I hope Ann and michael get some jutice.

  3. Our lives have been blighted by this devious court when all along I have capacity by 5 doctors reports all publicly displayed on the web at opg.me but yet I have been overcharged by fraud by false representation and I have been prevented from buying property abroad whilst living outside England & Wales where I was forced to live from pound sterling that devalued my cash estate by 30% losing me £100,000 without any accountability by these criminals who now want my passport.

  4. I stepped in to help a woman who was so stressed , she was not coping when attending hearings to do with her case. I was shocked when allowed to view court records that because of this ladies ” stress levels”, that letters had been exchanged with the court of protection for twelve months. There had been a tape of her breaking down at one hearing , sent as evidence she was not fit to handle her own affairs ( she had already been robbed of her home worth 1/2 Million). The court of protection had replied to say the tape was so damaged it could not be listened to. My support to this lady changed the District Judges ( a woman judge) , to believe the lady could handle her own affairs. My point being , all that was needed was assistance to understand the issues she was facing. Too often there is no support or advice available and anyone vulnerable will suffer the most.

  5. Social services again!!!
    From what I have seen going back to uk everyone is told ‘you need a social worker to help you’ we had NO choice and only got anywhere when I took it on myself.
    They said ‘you need a lawyer’ took us to see the most useless lot I have ever come across. They told me you can’t do that’ I did and got it sorted myself and went to court on my own and Judge awarded me what I was due.
    On the other side I saw women who could not look after their kids left with them and others who just needed some one to talk to for advice – result take the kids away and try and get them to sign adoption papers(the mothers) i gave one a good solicitor who did help her
    Kay

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