AFR, Re [2015] EWCOP 73 (11 November 2015)

Posted on Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

Picture of Alan PickardThis was an application by the Public Guardian to discharge two joint and several deputies for property and affairs on the grounds that they have behaved in a way that has contravened their authority or was not in their father’s best interests.

The person to whom these proceedings relate was A, his wife died in 2009 and he had two daughters:

(a) One who lives in Bedfordshire, but spent a lot of time in Crete. She was a part-time bookkeeper/ exams invigilator and received a local government pension. She suffered from multiple sclerosis.

(b) Another who also lived in Bedfordshire, was unemployed and partially sighted.

They were appointed as joint deputies on 1 March 2012 and were authorised to sell or let A’s house in Luton, and were required to keep statements, vouchers, receipts/other financial records and also maintain security in the sum of £90,000.

The property was sold for £152,000 in December 2012 and there was an equity release loan of £23,000 which had to be repaid.

On 21 May 2015 the Public Guardian, having concerns relating to the deputies conduct and in particular that there appeared to be financial intermeddling, submitted an application to the Court of Protection in which he sought the following orders:

1. An order under section 16(8)(a) of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 discharging the deputies, and upon discharge an order directing that an appropriate partner of Machins Solicitors be approached and invited to make an application for his or her appointment as deputy to make decisions on behalf of A in relation to his property and financial affairs.

2. An order directing that deputies shall account to the new deputy for all their dealings with A’s property and financial affairs from 1 March 2012 to the present date and provide copies of all documents, correspondence or records they hold or have access to, in respect of A’s property and financial affairs.

3. Security bond to remain in place pending further order of the court.

Witness statements were filed and the matter was considered by Senior Judge Lush who stated inter alia that the deputies had behaved in a way that had contravened the authority placed upon them in their roles and that one daughter in particular had clearly taken advantage for her own personal benefit.

Consequently an Order was issued on 10/11/15 which discharged the daughters as deputies & appointed Machins Solicitors LLP as A’s Deputy for Property & Affairs as replacement.

The full judgment can be read here

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