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Mental Capacity & Deputyship

Deputyship Expert Witness Evidence

Philippa Barton
Philippa Barton
Partner
Patrick Allen
Patrick Allen
Senior Partner

Our Mental Capacity & Deputyship team are highly experienced in dealing with professional deputyships and personal injury trusts.

This makes us uniquely placed to act as expert witnesses for other law firms with providing reports on the likely costs of having a professional deputy or trustee.

We regularly provide expert reports in personal injury compensation claims and medical negligence cases setting out the total cost of the deputyship or trust.

What does the report include?

It’s crucial to make sure that all the costs of the deputyship or Personal Injury Trust are included in your client’s schedule of special damages.

The report explains how legal fees are charged and assessed for Court of Protection work and provides details of past deputyship costs and annual estimates for the likely legal fees of the professional deputy for the rest of the client’s life. The report also includes details of one off expenses such as a statutory will application. The report also sets out additional expenses such as court fees and the cost of insurance.

"The team at HJA is solid and reliable, understands the complexity of individuals and works with case managers in a professional way. The lawyers are incredibly fast with decision making and the process is always smooth." - Legal 500, 2021

Supporting our clients

We can also provide evidence for the cost of setting up a PI trust and the fees of a professional trustee of a PI trust.

We also provide the following services:

  • Comment on the defendant’s report on deputyship costs.
  • Attend joint meetings with the defendant’s expert.
  • Give evidence at court.

Philippa Barton, who heads up the team, has extensive experience in this area and can be available to help you should you require assistance.

Call our highly experienced Mental Capacity & Deputyship team on
or request a call back.

Professional deputyship

Deputies are appointed by the Court of Protection to look after the financial affairs of a person who is mentally incapacitated. This covers adults with a brain injury, learning difficulties and mental health problems.

You’ll need to consider appointing a deputy if you are acting for:

  • A child who is unlikely to have capacity at the age of 18 or
  • An adult who lacks capacity

An adult may have a close family member or friend who can be trusted to act as deputy and manage their finances. However, where close family members are dependent on the injured client for their accommodation and/or income, it’s usually advisable to appoint a professional deputy instead of a family member. The deputy must keep their own finances separate from that of the injured client and must not benefit personally from deputyship funds.

In the case of a brain injured child who lives with their parents, it’s likely that the deputyship funds may well be used to contribute towards accommodation costs and household bills and maybe also to compensate the parents for the additional care they provide. This results in a conflict of interest between the child and their parents which means that it is usually not appropriate for the parents to act as deputies without the involvement of a professional deputy.

Deputies are supervised by the Office of the Public Guardian and must file annual reports and accounts. Deputies must take out a security bond so that there is insurance cover if the deputy is negligent or fraudulent.

If there’s no professional deputy, the OPG will set a higher level of supervision and the cost of the security bond will also be higher.

The legal fees charged by a professional deputy must be assessed by the court.

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"WHEN WE JOINED HJA, WE APPOINTED PHILIPPA BARTON AS OUR DEPUTY AND IT HAS BEEN ONE OF THE BEST DECISIONS WE HAVE MADE. IT IS A PLEASURE HAVING PHILIPPA ON BOARD WITH US AS SHE IS ONE OF THE BEST DEPUTIES. SHE IS ALWAYS THERE WHEN YOU NEED HELP AND EXPLAINS EVERY SITUATION TO YOU."

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