The Court of Protection is unable to make a Deputyship order unless the appropriate notification process has been followed by the applicant.
Once an application has been lodged with the Court, it will be issued and returned to the applicant bearing the stamp of the Court. The applicant is given 14 days to notify the individuals listed at section 5 of the COP1 application form that the application has been issued by the Court and must also notify the incapacitated person “P” as part of this process.
Court of Protection Practice Direction 9B states that “the applicant must seek to identify at least three persons who are likely to have an interest in being notified that the application has been issued”. This may include relatives of the protected party, or anyone involved in caring for them or interested in their welfare. The applicant may decide not to notify a particular relative if they have little or no involvement in the protected party’s life.
The protected party must be notified that proceedings about them have been issued in the Court of Protection. Where the protected party is under the age of 18, an individual with parental responsibility must be notified instead, so that they can choose to engage in the process on behalf of the child. The applicant will need to serve a Court of Protection COP14 form on the protected party explaining what the application means to them. Notification of the protected party must be completed in person either by the applicant or by someone acting on the applicant’s behalf. One must often think of practical solutions to aid notification, where P’s cognition is impaired.
The Court differentiates between “service” and “notification”. We can advise you on the most appropriate process for your application, as service usually has the effect of the Court treating the application as contested and may result in the imposition of more formal Court processes and greater expectation of party involvement, than is usually encountered with routine applications.
The protected party and any interested parties are then given 14 days to respond to the application using a Court of Protection COP5 form. This form should be completed and returned to the Court only in the event that the individual opposes the application; wishes to seek a different order; or wishes to make representations for the Court to consider before making a decision.
If there are any objections to the application, the proceedings become contested and may take many months to resolve. However, this notification process is important as it provides an opportunity for the protected party and any individuals affected by the application to express their views which will assist the Court when considering making an order. This is very important within the context of a Court that has such far reaching powers over an individual’s most personal matters.
As the final stage of notification, the applicant must confirm to the Court that the correct notification process has been followed. This is done by completing the Court of Protection COP20B form and returning it to the Court within 7 days of completing the notification process. The individual that notified the protected party in person must also complete the Court of Protection COP20A form detailing the manner in which notification took place and any views that the protected party expressed.
Once the 14 day waiting period has passed, and in the event that no individual has contested the application, the Court will then consider the application and make a decision as to whether a deputyship order should be made.
This article was first published on the Anthony Gold website and is reproduced with permission.