The Financial Times (FT) reported on Saturday a 71 per cent increase in court actions in the past year against those with Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) for vulnerable people. The data, obtained under a freedom of information request, revealed that the Office of the Public Guardian made 465 applications to the Court of Protection (COP) to censure or remove attorneys in 2017/18, up from 272 in 2016/17.     

The increase in court actions reported by the FT is consistent with our own experience of a rise in high-value and complex COP work in recent years. The field of private client disputes is evolving significantly and quickly. No longer are disputes fought only after the death of the wealth creator in inheritance or trust actions. Disputes are increasingly fought while the wealth creator is still alive and, as the population ages and dementia becomes more prevalent, questions of mental capacity are often now at the very centre of such disputes. We expect this trend to continue and for the COP to become increasingly busy in the years to come.