29 October 2009
Media criticism of Court of Protection and Public Guardian 'harsh'
The media criticism received by the Court of Protection and Public Guardian does not take into account the difficulties facing them, it has been claimed.
According to Solicitors for the Elderly, the two bodies perform a vital role in making sure that someone does not have the right to take the property of another person who lacks capacity except in certain circumstances.
For example, this can occur when the individual has authorised this in advance through a lasting power of attorney or when the Court of Protection has given the authority.
Solicitors for the Elderly claimed that any public body involved in such matters has to negotiate a "difficult balancing act" of not appearing too restrictive in terms of what it allows and not giving away authority without proper checks.
While difficult cases can make for "alarming headlines", in most instances, the Court of Protection appoints deputies as a matter of course and close relatives have the authority to administer considerable assets.
Commenting on the issue, Josine Cohen, who specialises in Court of Protection issues at Russell Jones & Walker Solicitors, said: "The Court of Protection plays a central role in protecting the vulnerable from financial abuse.
"There clearly have been teething problems but Solicitors for the Elderly together with other professional bodies have been sharing their concerns and working to help resolve issues."