Court of Protection – consultation on costs
By Nick Palmer
The Court of Protection oversees disputes concerning the affairs of those mentally incapable of making their own decisions. Normally, the Court will order that the costs of parties involved in these disputes are paid from the savings and investments of the incapacitated individual. This may seem unfair: that an individual not involved in the proceedings bears all the costs.
The Court has the discretion not to do this. It can order that any or all of the costs are borne by one or more of the parties involved in the proceedings, particularly where that party has behaved unreasonably. However, the Court exercises this discretion exceptionally, and a committee of the Court is now preparing a public consultation on whether Judges should have even greater discretion over this.
Any reform will not happen for a while yet. However, this may concern those acting as Deputies or Attorneys for individuals where there is perhaps a greater prospect of hostility in the future.
Nick Palmer is a solicitor in the Private Client team at Barker Gotelee.