Court of Protection – Part 12
For the last couple of weeks I have discussed a recent training course I went on presented by Senior Judge Denzil Lush, who presides over many of the cases about financial abuse and as a result many of the cases that I have discussed in earlier blogs.
He talked about some of the cases that I discussed and about the Court of Protection in general. He had some statistics from the Court of Protection and the OPG. In 2009 there were 17,068 applications issued and in 2013 there were 24,923. He also said that 94.5% of cases are non controversial and are dealt with on the papers alone, with only 5.5% of cases being dealt with by an attended hearing.
The OPG had received an increasing number of LPA applications and as it has not been possible to create a new EPA since 2007, the numbers of these being registered is decreasing. So in 2012/13 there were 242,000 applications for LPA and in 2013/14 295,000 an increase of 22% (in one year alone!). The numbers of applications to register EPA was 18,000 in 2012/13 decreasing to 16,000 in 2013/14, however this is an overall increase in the workload of the OPG of 20% in one year alone and this increase is not likely to slow with the aging population.
In 2008/9 the OPG were supervising 15.935 deputies and in 2013/14 they were supervising 49,006, more than treble what is was before the introduction of the Mental Capacity Act and this increase in caseload is likely to continue.
The OPG when they supervise Panel Deputies (who are the Deputies appointed by the Court where there is no-one else to take on the case) they would historically look at each of the cases in turn, but the supervision now is more holistically overall the entire caseload of the deputy.
Senior Judge Denzil Lush also said that many of the cases that he presides over are not cases where the deputy or attorney has intentionally stolen from the patient, but often where they are incompetent. A deputy is required to file accounts with the OPG annually and if they have not done so for 3 years, it does not necessarily indicate that they have stolen anything, but they are simply not doing the job as deputy to the standard that is expected and therefore these deputies have their appointments revoked.
So the message that I learnt from this is that there is going to be more and more cases going to the Court of Protection and many of us are going to be dealing with it, either in a personal capacity when a loved one develops dementia or for me professionally I will be assisting more families through the process of dealing with the Court of Protection.