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Published On: September 18, 2017 | Blog | 0 comments

How do I complain about a Deputy or Attorney?

The first port of call must be to approach the deputy/attorney directly to air your concerns. This is normally best done in writing or by email. That way, if you do not get a proper response, you can show that you have raised the concerns and that the response is unacceptable.

Most people reading this will have already approached the deputy/attorney and perhaps have a long history of unanswered complaints. Nevertheless, it is worth putting in one final complaint, perhaps in a formal manner. That can be done by a solicitor’s letter or by direct letter, giving a deadline for a response and saying that you will take formal action if the complaint is not answered.

If you do not get any satisfaction from the deputy, you may wish to consider a complaint to the Office of the Public Guardian. The Officer of the Public Guardian is a government body that supervises deputies and attorneys. Their details are as follows: – telephone 0330 456 0300. Email: Customer Services

The Office of the Public Guardian has a separate section which deals with complaints and investigations. Depending on their assessment of the complaint, they will approach the deputy/attorney directly complaint and ask for their comments. They may even arrange for one of their Court of Protection visitors to visit the deputy/attorney and the protected person. They will then conduct an investigation, asking for comments from all sides. That may or may not lead to them taking a court action to have the person removed.

The problem commonly reported with going through the complaints procedure at the Office of the Public Guardian is that it can take years before anything is achieved. It is not unheard of for the Office of the Public Guardian to take a long time investigating a matter before deciding whether or not to issuing court proceedings. The court proceedings normally are an application that the deputy/attorney be replaced by a professional deputy. The Court action can take a year or more. The Court might then ask a panel deputy to be appointed. The OPG then will invite panel deputies to act. Whilst they do try to get a local panel member, that is not always possible. The panel deputy will then have to apply to the Court to be appointed personally. On appointment, the professional deputy will then investigate the matter afresh and consider applying to court to take any necessary action to right any wrong.

A quicker way of dealing with serious complaints is for the person with concerns to either make an application to the court directly or to take advice as to whether some other person might be able to do that. This has the advantage of immediate court action to appoint a deputy who is briefed and ready to act. A specialist deputy chosen by you to do a certain job, might also have a better insight into the task at hand than a panel deputy, whose experience varies.

We are instructed by several London boroughs, the Official Solicitor, as well as members of the public, in challenging cases that involve urgent intervention, for these very reasons.

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

David Wedgwood

Head of Civil Litigation Joint Head of Court of Protection

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