Court of Protection Cases – Part 6

27 Nov

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Court of Protection – Part 6

 

The next case to look at is the case of Re MJR: JT & KT v Suffolk County Council and the Public Guardian [2014] – I really hope in due course this becomes known as the “uniform dating case”!!

 

MJR is an elderly lady with moderate dementia, who lives in sheltered accommodation.  She has 2 daughters, JT and JW.  She sees JT daily and rarely sees JW.  JT has 2 sons, one of which is KT.  MJR appointed JT (daughter) and JT (grandson) to be her attorneys under 2 LPAs, one for finance and one for health and welfare.

 

There was an application to register both of them, but for technical reasons only the welfare LPA was initially registered.  For legal reasons, it should be understood that until it is registered, it cannot be revoked by the Court, as it is cannot be used until registered.

 

The Local Authority (Suffolk County Council) had reports of misuse sent to them, they investigated and reported the matter to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), who also investigated.

 

What the investigations had found out was that KT was emotionally and financially abusing his grandmother and JT was colluding with him to do so.  MJR had a ThinkMoney account and the spare money at the end of the week was being transferred to JT’s company, and for the month of January 2012, MJR received £20 of her residue money, which meant that she did not have enough money to meet and socialise with her friends, which clearly impacted on the quality of her life.

 

With regards to the financial abuse, there was IRO£60 per week spent at Tesco, which is a lot for one person living on their own and in one week £298.58 was spent at Tesco.  There were payments to British Gas, even though gas was included in her accommodation and of course the classic – subscription to UniformDating.com!!!  There were others, but what was clear was that MJR’s money was being used for the benefit of KT.

 

The Court had made the decision to revoke both LPAs, once they had been registered and to appoint Suffolk County Council as Deputy for finance, which prevented further financial abuse from the date of that order.

 

So for technical legal reasons, it was an abuse of power firstly when the only LPA registered was the welfare one, which did not allow the attorneys to have an financial powers.  Once the LPA for finance was registered the Judge suspended it “on the papers” known as Rule 89.  This process allows an appeal and as the matter had been decided without the benefit of witness testimony, an appeal can be made.  Again for technical legal reasons, the process of appealing a decision made “on the papers” should not be considered as though it is “an appeal”, but as though it is a decision in first instance.  Both JT and KT wrote to the Court asking them to suspend the earlier decision and reinstate the LPAs.

 

The Court read the reports of financial and emotional abuse and was not persuaded that it was in MJRs best interests to have her daughter and grandson act for her, so following the Rule 89 hearing the Judge confirmed the earlier order and permanently revoked the 2 LPAs and in addition confirmed the appointment of Suffolk County Council as finance deputy.

 

So what are the lessons to be learnt?  Of course – don’t abuse the authority of an attorney and take advantage of the donor.  For the donor, make sure you trust the person you are appointing, as they will have a lot of control of your life.  This would have been costly to MJR, not just in terms of her relationships with her family, but also financially and now she is left with no attorney or deputy for health and welfare.  The Court have made a tough decision, which is no doubt the best decision in the circumstances.

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