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The judgement in Re ACC & Ors  was handed down by Her Honour Judge Hilder earlier this year.
The proceedings brought into question whether it was in the scope of a Deputy (managing P’s financial affairs) to instruct solicitors and conduct litigation on P’s behalf especially within their own firm. The Deputyship order in this case, as in many, did not contain any provision which granted authority to do so and Her Honour Judge Hilder used this opportunity to clarify matters.
The outcome of which was the following –
It is clear from the judgement that a Deputy must take reasonable steps to obtain alternate quotations prior to instructing their own firm to carry out legal work. The implication of this is that it is obviously more time consuming for a Deputy. Notwithstanding this, if a matter is urgent, the Deputy may proceed with legal work however they must be aware of the costs risk. The Deputy can later make an application to the court for retrospective approval and at this point may claim costs back from P’s estate.
In Re ACC, Her Honour Judge Hilder allowed costs to be remunerated after the event but warned that this does not mean that a similar result would be achieved in all cases. Evidently, the guidance for Deputies is to always exercise caution when instructing professionals to carry out alternate legal work on P’s behalf.
September 11, 2020
Natalie is a Partner and Solicitors in the Court of Protection department.