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Court of Protection – trust deputies

How does the CoP approach an application to appoint a trust corporation as a deputy? HHJ Hilder has, in a recent CoP ruling involving 36 applicants and 11 trust corporations, analysed the law on the appointment of deputies.

She set out important principles as to the information the court needs to be satisfied that a corporation is a fit and proper legal person to be appointed as a deputy.

On reviewing the applications in this case, Hilder J concluded:

‘There is presently no system in place as between the Court, the Office of the Public Guardian and the Ministry of Justice’s approved bond supplier on which the Court can rely as to the suitability of a trust corporation for appointment as deputy prior to making such appointment. A trust corporation can apply to be on the PG’s panel of deputies, but there is no “panel” of trust corporations which have demonstrated compliance with legal requirements to act. Information necessary to satisfy the Court as to suitability must therefore be “built into” the application process itself.’

She then stated the information which the court has identified as necessary:

whether a trust corporation can lawfully act as such;

whether the internal management supervision and controls of the trust corporation are appropriate; and

external regulation other than by the Public Guardian.

She concluded that the CoP can be satisfied that there is adequate external regulation of a trust corporation for it to be suitable for appointment as a deputy if an authorised person undertakes on behalf of the trust corporation either that the trust corporation is itself authorised by the SRA or that:

all the directors of the trust corporation are solicitors and it employs no one (save to the extent that it employs a company secretary); and

the trust corporation will retain its associated legal practice to carry out all practical work in relation to the management of the incapacitated person’s property and affairs; and

the trust corporation is covered by the professional indemnity insurance policy of its associated authorised legal practice on the same terms as that practice;

and that the trust corporation will inform the Public Guardian immediately if any of these things change.

The requirements of the court for Category 3 trust corporations (including those not linked to legal practice) are also explained, including in relation to insurance. Various Incapacitated Persons, Re (Appointment of Trust Corporations As Deputies) [2018] EWCOP 3. Source: www.bailii.org.

 

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