- Services for Business
- Services for Individuals
- Events & Media
- Contact Us
- Conveyancing login
Over in the charity sector last week, the England and Wales High Court passed down a judgment to allow charity trustees to take environmental ideals in to account when investing assets. Interestingly, trustees are allowed to do so even where the returns are to be lower than other non-environmentally friendly decisions.
Two trustees of charities, with the aim of improving the environment and relieving poverty, brought the case to clarify the extent of their investment discretion. The trustees sought to decipher whether they could avoid investing in profitable activities which they believed could conflict their environmental purposes.
The judgment now poses the question whether the Court of Protection will follow suit and allow Deputies and Attorneys to act in a similar way. This would introduce the ability to follow P’s wishes beyond just acting in their financial interests and ensuring any strong environmental beliefs are also followed.
However, the contrary viewpoint is that this may give too much room for Deputies to make moral decisions, which could see them stray from their role. The nature of moral decisions is of course that they are subjective therefore this is likely to create uncertainty about whether the stronger moral or financial outcome should prevail when making investments.
If introduced, this would bring another dynamic to the role of a Deputy/Attorney and the argument could develop for this to be introduced for all strong viewpoints. This would then open the floodgates and murky the waters for answering the question “what is P’s best interests?” - honouring their beliefs or maximising assets.
It will be interesting to see whether the decision in Butler-Sloss v Charity Commission is mirrored in the Court of Protection. Follow our @RamsdensCoP team on Twitter to stay up-to-date with further news updates.
May 6, 2022
Natalie is a Partner and Solicitors in the Court of Protection department.