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The Court of Protection – The “Secret” Court

Published on 25 January 2018 | Modified on 14 December 2022

Written by Stacey Bennett
court of protection


You may have seen headlines referring to the “Secret Court” – with complaints of how much goes on behind closed doors. What is the Court of Protection and why might you need to know about it?

What is the Court of Protection?

The Court of Protection deals with the affairs of people who are in some way incapacitated. Most commonly, it gets involved in circumstances where someone has lost the ability to look after their financial affairs. This may be due to (for example) the onset of dementia, a stroke or an accident.  Ideally, such people will have made a Lasting Power of Attorney giving someone authority to act for them.  If they haven’t, an application to the Court of Protection must be made to appoint a Deputy.

How to I apply to the Court of Protection?

Applications to the Court of Protection are lengthy and expensive.  They involve completing lengthy forms for the Court. These detail the circumstances of the individual involved, including full financial records, their personal situation, and those of the Deputy. Further, a medical report is required to confirm that the person does lack capacity.

This process will often take many months. During this time, everything is often held in limbo. At the end of the process, the Court of Protection will usually make an Order. This order formally appoints the Deputy, but requires that an insurance policy be put in place. This covers the possibility of the Deputy disappearing with the person’s money.

What does a Deputy do?

Once the insurance premium has been paid and the Order is released the Deputy can then access the funds and act in a very similar way to an Attorney.

Additionally, each year they must complete a Financial Return. This details all the income and outgoings of the person involved.  It must be submitted to the Court of Protection and a fee is paid annually for supervising this. This arrangement carries on until the death of the person involved.

As you will gather this is a very onerous position. It underlines the importance of putting in place suitable Lasting Powers of Attorney to avoid your nearest and dearest having to go through this process for you.

If you have not yet set up a Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact us and we would be very pleased to help you.  If, sadly, you are faced with a situation where someone has lost capacity and they have not made a Lasting Power of Attorney, we will of course be very happy to guide you through the choppy waters of a Court of Protection application.

For more information, or for an appointment to discuss your requirements, speak to one of our expert solicitors in our Wills and Probate team on 01270 625478. Alternatively you can visit our wills and probate services page here or complete the form linked here and we will call you back.

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