Court of Protection
Upfront notification and online applications
The Court of Protection (COP) has recently piloted upfront notification of P (the person who is the subject of the application to the COP) where the appointment of a property and finances deputy is proposed.
Notification is also given to others who are related or connected to P. In the past an application was submitted to the COP and once the paperwork was received and checked at the COP, the application was “issued” It was at this point that P and others due to be notified about the application were contacted. The COP had to receive forms (COP20A and COP20B) to confirm that notice had been given. This led to delays whilst notice was given, and then the COP20 forms had to be received at the COP and linked to the Court file. It also meant that delays occurred if anyone objected to, or queried, the application for the appointment of a deputy.
The upfront notification process aims to avoid the delays that occurred with the form COP20 notification process, and also to help avoid unnecessary objections or queries by requiring notice before the application is sent to the COP. From January 2023 upfront notification will be the process for new applications. Notice is given to P and to at least three people connected to P. This may be relatives, friends or professionals connected to P. Those receiving notice have fourteen days to respond to the notice, confirming whether the notified person agrees with or objects to the application for a deputy to be appointed to act for P. If the notified person does not return the form indicating their views on the application within fourteen days, the COP can process the application. This does not prevent later objections, but the new process encourages engagement between parties before an application is made.
Online applications were also piloted, and can now be made by all legal professionals. The online process will be extended to all applicants from February 2023.
Samantha Hamilton, Member and Head of the Court of Protection department, said:
“The pilots led to faster processing of applications for the appointment of a property and finances deputy, so it is hoped that the online applications and upfront notification will see deputy appointments being made faster than the old paper-based procedure. However, with new processes and a greater volume of online applications, there may not be an immediate improvement in the timescales for the appointment of a property and finances deputy. However, it is to be hoped that in time the application process will be faster and allow deputies to be appointed more quickly. Deputies can then assist those needing help with managing money and property due to incapacity.”