Cumbria County Council v A  EWCOP 38: What Local Authority Deputies need to know
Megan Christie and Andrew Cusworth, both Professional Deputies, have shared with Trojan a detailed summary of a landmark TEST case in relation to the transfer of Deputyships when in the best interest of P. This update could affect Local Authority Deputies with details below.
Megan and Andrew explain, “We have recently been supporting Local Authorities who signposted new deputyship inquiries for us to make the application for a new professional deputy appointment. One Local Authority wanted to step down on some of their existing deputyships and be replaced by us, as professional (and panel) deputies, in cases where this was in P’s best interests. We realised this was a grey area for Local Authorities, so we brought a TEST case, to establish whether, and if so when, the Court would approve deputyship transfers.”
They continue, “We brought these applications on the Local Authorities behalf, most of which were approved straight away. A handful went through two years of proceedings, culminating in this judgement. The TEST case now provides Local Authorities with illustrative factors as to when a deputy discharge and transfer would be appropriate and helpfully, 5 examples are given at paragraph 24a-e of the published judgment.”
Although it may not all be plain sailing, as Megan points out, “However, Local Authorities need to be aware that whilst there is no duty to act/offer deputyship services, when they take on a new deputyship matter, there is no guarantee they will be able to step down, even if they need to or if P’s circumstances change. Once a Local Authority is appointed as deputy, they could be compelled to continue acting against their consent, for a long time (e.g. until P dies or regains capacity).”
Megan and Andrew are currently Acting as Applicant in these proceedings, with the Local Authority and the OPG as Respondents, conducting hearings before Senior Judge Hilder and the Vice President of the COP, a senior (High Court) Judge, Megan and Andrew have gained unique insight which they are happy to share with Trojan Consultant’s Local Authority customers/clients.
More information to follow.
Megan Holgate – firstname.lastname@example.org