The handbag case – unauthorised expenses and gifts by a deputy

Re GM (Neutral Citation Number: [2013] EWCOP 2966)

This is another case which makes for valuable reading – the whole transcript can be found here   It follows Re Buckley and if it can be said that that is the reptile case, then this might be called the handbag case, since designer handbags and watches “given” by Mrs GM, to the deputies feature uncomfortably alongside the deputies’ decisions on what clothes GM was allowed to purchase.

The facts: 

Mrs GM was a widow of 93, and had borne one daughter, Barbara, who had predeceased her, a spinster without issue.  Mrs GM had no will, and on intestacy her estate would devolve on her late brother’s daughter and the issue of her late brother’s son.

Mrs GM’s deputies were her late husband’s niece (JM) and grandniece (MJ) and therefore they were related only by marriage and would not be entitled on intestacy.

Mrs GM had approximately £200,000 of her own money, and inherited approximately £300,000 from Barbara.  She had a limited income of £200 per week and her nursing home fees were approximately £500 a week.  She suffered from vascular dementia, and was therefore unlikely to recover capacity.   She did enjoy some activities, although these were limited by the apparent unavailability of funds.

JM and MJ were appointed deputies in August 2010.  A representative from the Office of the Public Guardian met them at the nursing home, and on hearing that some gifts had been made, although not aware of the amounts, suggested that they seek the court’s retrospective approval, which they did, a year later, in October 2011.  Thereafter, the Office of the Public Guardian and the Court process gathered initial and then further information and momentum until the hearing to which the judgement relates, in April 2013.

The gifts 

Sequinned dresses and a matter of taste 

In contrast to the somewhat luxurious gifts acquired by the Deputies and their families, the official visitor from the Office of the Public Guardian reported that a visit to see Mrs GM had revealed that the nursing home thought that GM was very low on funds, as although her care fees were paid promptly by bankers draft, her ancillary expenditure account of less than £500 a year often ran very low and the nieces had to be contacted often with requests for more funds.  It was reported that the nieces appeared reluctant to pay for chiropody, on the basis that GM was diabetic and strongly queried whether such expenses should be paid from NHS funds.  The nursing home took the decision to charge reduced fees to GM as they did not want to lose her and were aware that funds were very short.  GM had told them that she did not have the money to buy things, and the Visitor commented that in her professional opinion, GM would not have sufficient awareness to know how much the home would charge her or even that her accommodation had to be paid for.

On a practical note, the nursing home commented that they considered that an increase in the yearly allowance by a further £100 would greatly enhance her life, as it would permit GM to choose some clothes for herself from those made available to the home.  In submissions, the deputies said that they provided clothes for GM as she tended to purchase clothes that were “cheap and tawdry in appearance and quality”.  GM appears to prefer sequinned dresses, which are “terribly difficult to wash and iron”.  The deputies did concede that they were not themselves responsible for the laundering of GM’s clothes, as the nursing home took care of all laundry

Master Lush included references to these matters in his judgment because although it might seem insignificant, it was indicative of the lack of control GM was allowed to have over her arrangements, even in the smallest and most limited of ways.  Master Lush considered again the duty of deputies to assist and support the Patient, and that in this, as in all the gift giving, whether to family or charities, it appeared as if GM had not been consulted in any way, whether supported or not in her understanding.  As the choice of clothing was apparently one that GM would take great pleasure in, the deputies substituting their judgment for the choices of what they thought GM would have wanted was also in excess of their role, albeit in a minor way.

Misunderstanding of the words in the appointment of deputies 

As might be expected, the lay reading of words can sometimes differ from the legal understanding of them.  It appears that the deputies had considered the wording in the appointment that they “may jointly and severally (without obtaining any further authority from the court) dispose of money or property of GM by way of gift to any charity to which she made or might have been expected to make gifts and on customary occasions to persons who are related to or connected with her, provided that the value of each such gift is not unreasonable having regard to all the circumstances and, in particular, the size of her estate” (this is part of the standard wording on appointment) to mean that they should allocate GM a sum of £200,000 in light of her life expectancy, and then dispose of the balance of this to members of Barbara’s extended family – this was mentioned, with startling clarity in their initial submissions to the court:  “ we acted as we thought the order granted us, to gift and donate in relation to the size of the estate.  As GM is 92 years old, we believe approximately £200,000 to be adequate and if this is not enough [for her to live on] there is no way she will go short”

Such misunderstanding might be understandable, but when dealing with another person’s money, it might on the other hand be considered reasonable to seek legal advice before disposing of another’s money and property to such a great extent, especially if it is to benefit those people who are not entitled on intestacy or under the will of a patient.  Where a deputy or attorney seeks to benefit themselves from any gift, they should make very certain of their authority.  The Court simply did not believe the deputies – and said that their ignorance was no excuse.

Master Lush, in his judgment emphasises that:

It is important that deputies and attorneys should

  • realise that they have only a very limited authority to make gifts
  • understand why that authority is limited
  • be aware that, in an appropriate case, they may apply to the Court of Protection for more extensive gift-giving powers.

Master Lush further described the words “having regard to all the circumstances” as meaning:

  1. the first and paramount consideration is whether the gift is in the Patient’s best interests;
  2. the extent to which the Patient was in the habit of making gifts and loans of a particular size before the onset of incapacity;
  3. the Patient’s anticipated life expectancy;
  4. the possibility that the Patient may require nursing or residential care and the projected cost of such care
  5. whether the Patient is in receipt of NHS continuing Healthcare or aftercare pursuant to s117 of the Mental Health Act
  6. the extent to which any gifts would interfere with the devolution of the Patient’s estate on will or intestacy; and
  7. the impact of Inheritance Tax on the patient’s death.

The size of the gifts and what is the limit that should be given 

Master Lush acknowledged that there was no specific limit or guidelines on limits of gifts that might be made by deputies in the United Kingdom, but considered the law in Alberta, Canada (gifts shall not exceed 5% of the represented adult’s taxable income for the previous year) and in British Columbia (the total value of all gifts loans and charitable gifts made by an attorney in a year shall not exceed 10% of the adult’s taxable income for the previous year, and $5,000).  In the UK, the wording of the order envisages a threshold, beyond which any gifting would be considered unreasonable (known now as the “reasonableness threshold”).  Re Buckley considered that a gift would be below the threshold if it was so small for it to be disproportionate to make a formal application to the court.  For further clarification, Master Lush indicated that this threshold might be construed as covering the annual Inheritance Tax exemption of up to £3000 and the annual small gifts (£250) exemption up to a maximum of ten people in circumstances where

  1. the Patient’s estate exceeded one Nil Rate Band in value;
  2. the Patient had a life expectancy of less than five years; and
  3. the gifts are affordable having regard to the Patient’s current and anticipated care costs and will not affect the Patient’s quality of life;

In the case of GM, Master Lush deduced that the reasonableness threshold would be £4,500 a year, and that in order for any gift to be made it would have to be made to any person who was connected to GM or a relative of GM – this limited the gifts to MJ and JM, their children and grandchildren (and not to spouses)

Why this is so important as a case: 

Whilst Re Buckley was crucial in further defining what duties of investment the attorney had for Miss Buckley, whose affairs she was responsible for, Re GM is very welcome advice on what the court considers to be the appropriate level of gifts that a deputy might make from the funds to which they have access, after their appointment.

The Court of Protection has, historically, been unwilling to give advice over the telephone helpline about what are “appropriate” levels of gifts or expenses, and has proffered the advice that if the attorneys or deputies are in doubt, then they must make an application to the court.  Whilst this is still the case, Re GM does provide more guidance on what the court considers reasonable, and most helpfully, does so in a case where the patient had an average value estate – one which practitioners will encounter in practice reasonably often – of under a million pounds, but above the inheritance tax threshold, and where the income levels of an incapacitated person are low – £200 a week, from state benefits and a small pension.  It also emphasises the distinction between expenses that would be recoverable and the gratuitous benefit of a gift.

It appears from the transcript that the deputies were acting without the benefit of both legal advice, and without having taken on board the standard and publicly available advice produced by the court of protection and the office of the public guardian.  They appear to have taken the order of first appointment very much at face value and interpreted it in a way that seemed suitable to them, without appearing to have any idea of the magnitude of the errors they were making, nor of the potential criminal sanctions that the court has when adjudicating on such matters.  This has been a very unhappy result for Mrs GM personally, but on the other hand, may have shown a spotlight on what was perhaps not clear before.

The Master in this case ordered that the gifts made by the deputies had been excessive, that the expenses claimed were disproportionate and amounted less to expenses and more to gifts, and that they had acted in contravention of the authority that they had been given under the Mental Health Act, that the deputies’ appointment should be revoked and that they should return to the estate that which they had misappropriated.

Memorable parts of the judgment here:

 

  1. I do not accept that the gifts they made were in GM’s best interests. They are completely out of character with any gifts she made before the onset of dementia. There was no consultation with her before they were made and there was no attempt to permit and encourage her to participate in the decision-making process, or to ascertain her present wishes and feelings.
  2. Nor do I accept the applicants’ argument that they believed that the order appointing them allowed them to make gifts on such an extensive scale. They should have been aware of the law regarding their role and responsibilities. Ignorance is no excuse.
  3. The fact that GM’s remaining assets were in the names of one or other of the applicants, rather than in GM’s name, is a further example of what is, at best, ignorance, and, at worst, stealth.
  4. I realise that MJ and JM are the only visitors that GM receives, but this does not give them a licence to loot, and I was unimpressed by the veiled threat that, if the court were to remove them as deputies, they would find it difficult to continue seeing GM.
  1. The applicants were seeking approval of gifts and expenses totalling £277,811.74. The approval of only £73,352 has left them personally liable to GM’s estate in the sum of £204,459.74, which they must pay back.
  2. For the purposes of section 16(8) of the Mental Capacity Act, I am satisfied that the deputies have behaved in a way that contravened the authority conferred on them by the court and was not in GM’s best interests.
  3. I am not persuaded by any of Miss Bretherton’s submissions on their behalf, and I have no hesitation in revoking their appointment as deputies. GM’s finances are in disarray because of their conduct, and it is in her best interests that someone with experience of cases of unjust enrichment and restitution, such as a panel deputy, is appointed to manage her affairs in their place.

 

 

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Word of the Day: Farrago

Farrago

 

a confused mixture; hodgepodge; medley:

a farrago of doubts, fears, hopes, and wishes.
In my judgment Mr Fitzgerald’s application is, in all its aspects, misconceived, devoid of factual merit, in major part legally groundless and totally without merit. His allegations against Ms Hughes are scurrilous, fatuous and should never have been made. His application for her committal is a farrago of nonsense.

H, Re [2015] EWCOP 52 (05 August 2015)

Absolutely fascinating and relevant for parents of autistic (and other children with mental disabilities), particularly those whose impairments are severe.  Enabling the appointment of successive deputies is a very tricky issue, both legally, practically and also from the point of view that the disabled person should not be considered as a minor child requiring a guardian, nor as a chattel or other asset to be disposed of under a testamentary disposition.

I would so like to meet Master Lush.  He seems to have addressed the issues with tact, discretion and lucidity.  His economy of style is, as always, pleasing.

 

Decision

Although the disadvantages slightly outnumber the advantages, I propose to allow the appointment of successive deputies in this case.

The factor of magnetic importance is that the appointment of successive deputies will give H’s parents peace of mind. It means that they can sleep soundly at night, knowing that they have put their affairs in order. For the last twenty-six years, their lives, their needs and their rights have been completely subordinated to H’s and, when say they that the appointment of successive deputies would be in her best interests, I believe them. Moreover, they still insist that it would be in her best interests, even though they are now fully aware of the problems associated with an appointment of this kind.

In paragraph 8.43 of its report on Mental Incapacity, the Law Commission noted that “many elderly carers of young disabled persons experience great anxiety about what will become of the younger person when they, the carers, have gone.” If an order appointing successive deputies will relieve H’s parents of that anguish, then these proceedings will have been worthwhile.

Putting their affairs in order sounds like making a will. In paragraph 6.21 of its Consultation Paper No 128, the Law Commission observed that some parents attempt to provide a continuing framework of care and supervision for their mentally incapacitated child by means of a testamentary appointment, and went on to say: “We have proposed that the judicial authority have power to appoint successive managers, and think it better in principle to deal with this situation in that way.” Although the Code of Practice contemplates a scenario in which the succession is likely to take place imminently or in the reasonably foreseeable future, it is clear that the circumstances of people like H and her parents were one of the prime considerations that prompted Parliament to enact section 19(5) of the MCA in the first place.

It is suggested that, by appointing them now, the successor deputies will feel a stronger sense of responsibility and commitment towards H. I believe this, too. Their role is not unlike that of godparents. They are individuals who have been selected by the parents to take an interest in their daughter’s upbringing and development and to take care of her when her they are no longer around. English ecclesiastical law anticipates that godparents “shall be persons who will faithfully fulfil their responsibilities” (Canon B23.2). I hope that H’s successor deputies will faithfully fulfil their responsibilities when the time comes for them to take over from her parents, whenever that may be.

via H, Re [2015] EWCOP 52 (05 August 2015).

Health and welfare of an autistic adult and a parent being unsuitable to be a Deputy.

AY v (1) Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust & Ors [2015] EWCOP 36

From the latest 39 Essex Chambers newsletter, a case that strikes my heart as well as professional interest, on the care of an autistic young adult  (X) with severe autistic symptoms

It is broadly accepted by all parties that X suffers from an autistic spectrum disorder and that he has moderate to severe learning disabilities. Dr. Dalton is “confident that [he also has] an illness with affective and occasional psychotic components….probably best characterised as bipolar affective disorder” and this conclusion has not been challenged. The parties’ descriptions of X depict him similarly as largely non-verbal but fully mobile and able to read, write and use an i-pad to assist his communication. All parties agree that he is fully dependent on carers to meet all his personal care needs, food and fluid intake; and that he lacks capacity to litigate these proceedings, and to make decisions about where he lives, how he is cared for and the treatment he receives.

and his mother wishing to remain acting as his Health and Welfare deputy.

The legal case,  is about whether the mother would be the proper person to be the deputy – a role ranking higher in health and welfare terms than a parent, although the parent’s introduction of evidence in the context of proceedings about care for an incapacitated adult is considered as highly important  (“the evidence of the parents is of the utmost importance” in fact finding) MA Local Authority v. M, E and A 014] EWCOP 33.

In this case, sadly, the mother was convinced that the diagnosis of autism resulted from a reaction to vaccines and was influenced by the discredited Wakefield study.  She was further convinced that the vaccinations had triggered inflammation of the gut and that a restricted diet with compensating supplements assisted her son, and this was evidenced by his behaviour.

The mother (perhaps because she had made an emotional investment as well as one of time, not to mention money) was unwilling, it seemed to the court, to accept the more standard treatments and suggested causes for both autism and its effects on the individual.   Despite much work and many reports from leading experts in the field (as opposed to “experts” that the court found fell far below the standards required [1] ), she remained unconvinced that there might be an alternative explanation for the behavioural issues experienced by her son (that he was experiencing the difficulties of an autistic person, rather than caused by inflammation of the gut. “I am amply satisfied from AY’s presentation of her case within these proceedings that she is unable to accept that autism, rather than any bowel condition, is fundamentally the cause for much of X’s behaviour.”

As suggested by the Official Solicitor, representing X, “a person who does not listen to medical experts and work in collaboration with professionals in the best interests of the incapacitated adult is particularly ill-equipped to act as a personal welfare deputy”

The Local Authority saw the Deputy’s view as being restrictive and damaging to the wellbeing of her son.  The revocation of the deputyship order was necessary so that respected clinicians could be allowed to treat the patient, following a more conventional approach to the patient’s situation.  In addition, it was seen that the Deputy’s intervention in the treatment of her son had made his treatment far more difficult than it would otherwise have been, as it involved constant record keeping and other burdens on the carers time “The various e-mail chains included in the hearing bundles amply demonstrate that at times AY’s requests to care staff for information as to what and when X is eating, and how his bowels are functioning, have been excessive and unmanageable”

The comment on this case by 39 Essex chambers:

The Court had no doubt that AY was devoted to X and dedicated to promoting his wellbeing as she saw it. However, the Court was struck by the rigidity of her views and her refusal to accept professional medical advice. Rather, AY continued to pursue her views which worked against X’s best interests and therefore her appointment as welfare deputy was revoked. The revocation of AY’s welfare deputyship meant that she alone would not have authority to make these decisions for AY. However, the Court emphasised that AY was not excluded from the decision making process. The revocation of the deputyship merely restored AY to the usual position for the parent of an incapacitated (adult) child where her views would be taken into account in making any decision in X’s best interests. The Court championed the usual approach of collaborative decision making and in the circumstances agreed with the OS that there was no need to appoint anyone else as replacement welfare deputy. We would emphasise that there will be very many cases in which the appointment of a parent as the health and welfare deputy for a child with profound disabilities is entirely appropriate and correct so as to secure a privileged voice in decision-making. It often comes as a huge – and very unwelcome – shock to parents in such a position to discover that they cease to have any formal role at all in such circumstances when their child turns 18, and appointment as a health and welfare deputy can be very important. This case, though (as with A Local Authority v M) demonstrates the boundaries of the authority that a parent deputy can exercise.

The judgment in full here 

Conclusions, paragraphs 112-116

Diet and treatment

When X’s diet was restricted and he was taking supplements, he remained autistic. At least since the beginning of this year, he has had access to previously restricted foodstuffs , and since July he has had an unrestricted diet, without any noted deterioration in his behaviour or the condition of his bowels. Restriction of diet is an infringement of X’s freedoms; and a requirement to take nutritional supplements is an imposition. In the absence of evidence of positive benefit from either the infringement or the imposition, I consider that neither is in his best interests.

Given the finding that AY will continue to seek testing and administration of 5HTP and nutritional supplements, I am satisfied that it would not be in the best interests of X for AY alone to have authority to make such decisions for X. I am satisfied that instead, it is in his best interests for decisions in respect of X’s diet and treatment to be taken in a collaborative process, after due consultation in accordance with the general approach of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

Deputyship

AY’s views run counter to the generally accepted approach in respect of treatment for autism, yet she has pursued, and as I have found will continue to pursue, those views to the point of placing unworkable strain on those responsible for X’s day to day care. It follows that I am satisfied that she has behaved, and proposes to behave, in a way which is not in X’s best interests (however much she believes to the contrary.) It is clear that AY’s appointment as welfare deputy has worked against X’s interests, not to further them. I am satisfied that the appointment should be revoked.

I understand that AY will feel the revocation of her welfare deputyship as a blow. It is therefore appropriate to make clear that it should not – and I am confident that it will not – operate to exclude her from contributing to the process of welfare decision–making for her son. Rather, it restores her to the usual position for the parent of an incapacitated adult, as envisaged by those who framed the Mental Capacity Act. AY is clearly a person interested in X’s welfare (as well as being his deputy for property and affairs). Accordingly, wherever it is practicable and appropriate to consult her, any person or body making a ‘best interests’ decision for X must take into account her views, pursuant to section 4(7) of the Act.

There are good indications that “the usual approach” of collaborative decision-making can operate successfully for X. In particular, I note that the parties have been able to agree where X should live; and now that he is there, they have been able to maintain contact arrangements sufficiently well that no restrictions and no orders of the court are sought. With the issues of dietary restriction and supplement resolved by decision of the court, I agree with the Official Solicitor that there is, at present, no need to appoint anyone else as replacement welfare deputy.

[1] “In respect of X, Ms. Hayward’s statement falls a long way short of standards which would be expected of an expert witness. I have no confidence that the “recommendations” she makes are properly based on an informed consideration of his circumstances and medical history. I do not regard Ms. Hayward’s statement as reliable evidence in support of the assertion that X derives any beneficial effect from 5HTP or dietary supplements.”

On a final note, which is a very personal one, the view that the mother was the best person to make decisions for her son, because she knew him best is one that is frequently expressed, perhaps to empower parents, perhaps an overreaction to the “frigid mother” attitudes of the last century.

In this case, it appears that the court has burst that bubble – has clearly stated that the mother is not the best person to take care of her son and that she does not know her son best, and that her approach is not the best one for him,despite clearly being all consumed with the desire to care for him.

Perhaps the mother’s rigidity of view is based on an inability to support other views :  this may indicate an autistic trait in herself.  Perhaps, on the other hand, the support given to parents after diagnosis too often is about empowering the parent to take control, because there are inadequate resources for anyone else to do so.  Who else would have been an unpaid carer for so many years, with such devotion, in the face of so many difficulties?  If life has been hard for this parent, and she is defiant in her opposition to the ideas of others, it is hardly surprising.

Care Act and Slough Borough Council, Financial LPAs and Deputyships with Deferred Payment Arrangements

As of 1 April the first part of the new Care Act  comes into effect.

Many things change: for example, CRAG guidance will cease to apply and the Deferred Payments Scheme will change.

Instead of CRAG we will have the Care and Support Statutory Guidance:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/366104/43380_23902777_Care_Act_Book.pdf

The relevant SI under the Care Act 2014 which sits on top of this Statutory Guidance is the Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) Regulations 2014

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/2672/contents/made

The Care Act 2014 sits on top of them all:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/23/contents/enacted

From April 1 the discretionary system of deferred payments (with charge on the resident’s house) is being replaced by a mandatory system whereby eligible users will be entitled to the deferment option (but there are qualifying conditions).

Here is the information for the public from Slough:

https://www.slough.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/the-care-act.aspx

https://www.slough.gov.uk/downloads/care-and-support-FAQs.pdf

And the internal report for the benefit of the council.http://www.slough.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/s37092/Report.pdf

Mental Capacity Slough will assure itself that the person requesting the DPA has the requisite mental capacity to enter into such an agreement. Where a person who lacks capacity has either a Finance and Property Attorney or a Deputy, evidence of this will be required before the representative can sign the DPA on the person’s behalf. Where the person who lacks capacity is unrepresented, an application must be made to the Court of Protection: § A family member willing to take up the role may make a Deputyship § In the absence of such a candidate an application may be made for a Panel Deputy to be appointed § Slough may take the view that it will apply for Deputyship, depending on the Council’s resources and the composition and value of the person’s assets

Lots of reading…

COURT OF PROTECTION – Geographical closeness is ‘magnetic factor’ for property deputyship

From the STEP weekly digest

COURT OF PROTECTION – Geographical closeness is ‘magnetic factor’ for property deputyship

Two brothers have been appointed deputies for their 93-year-old father’s property affairs on the basis that he lives much nearer to them than to his third son, who was objecting to their deputyship application. The case, DG & Others v Peter (2014 EWCOP 31), embodies the familiar situation of siblings quarrelling over who should look after the finances of an aged parent with dementia.

BAILII

Clicking through to the Bailii site gives another judgment from Master Denzil Lush, a keen observer of humanity’s failings : and he is given ample opportunity to examine them.

In this case, there was nothing to differentiate between the three brothers in any way – they all had skills, willingness and ability to be Deputies.  There were only two factors that separated them that were “magnetic” – geographical proximity and attitude.

      “28.The old authorities on mental capacity law showed a preference to appoint “persons whose residence admits of frequent visits to the patient and inspection of his affairs.” David and Barry live in Surrey. Each of them visits DG two or three times a week. Their wives visit him separately, and their children go and see him regularly, too. By contrast, Peter lives in Yorkshire and gets to see his father about three or four times a year.
      29.Andrea Watts summarised the position rather well in her skeleton argument when she said:

“The reality of the situation is that the applicants are in a position to assist with day to day care and decision making, and the respondent is not. It is not a criticism of him, but the geographical distance simply makes him a less suitable choice of deputy than the applicants.”

      30.I agree. Their geographical location gives David and Barry the edge.

What was also telling was the attitude.  How carefully one must have to speak in front Mr Master Lush:

      31.There is a marked difference between David and Barry’s attitude and approach and Peter’s towards DG’s carers and the management at the residential care home and the statutory authorities responsible for his care. At the hearing on 19 August, David admitted:

“Yes, we agree that [the residential care home] is not perfect, but if anything is wrong I go and talk to the person who is going to get it fixed. At any time I have an issue, I talk to them. They know me and my wife. I have no qualms about the management. It’s not The Ritz. I wouldn’t expect it to be, but the people – the carers – go out of their way to look after my father. Not just the carers but the gardener, the cleaner, the handyman. It’s a very nice environment.”

      32. Peter, on the other hand, said:

“I’ve complained about cleanliness. I’ve complained about security.”

“I complained to the chief executive of Anchor Homes.”

“I have made Freedom of Information Act requests.”

“My parents were put in [the residential care home] against their will: deprived of their liberty by my brothers.”

“I suggested that they feed my mother through a drinking vessel. The care home refused to do that on the grounds that it was undignified.”

“I sent 50 to 100 emails to Social Services badgering them to get Mum and Dad home.”

“Social Services have not followed through any of their promises.”

“The care home won’t talk to me, either. I don’t understand why they won’t talk to me. They won’t give me any information at all.”

“David and Barry don’t have it in them to challenge everybody. [The residential care home] needs challenging. Somebody needs to challenge them. If I were in charge of my father’s finances, I would.”

“In my desire to get deputyship the main reason is to look after the accounts like David, but I would be a lot harder with [the residential care home] in view of their laissez faire attitude.”

    33. This is essentially a matter of attitude and approach or, as Miss Watts described it, ‘tone’. Whereas David and Barry are able to interact successfully with the carers and statutory agencies which have an interest in their father’s welfare, Peter’s relationship with almost everyone is fraught. Although occasionally his complaints have resulted in a successful outcome for his parents, his victories have been pyrrhic, and overall his approach has been counter-productive. He is a compulsive complainer who has unrealistic expectations and a tendency to become bogged down by minutiae. His brothers are not appeasing an enemy, but simply making appropriate responses and avoiding unnecessary conflict with those responsible for their father’s everyday care.
    Block quotes are from the STEP summary or directly from the case itself.  The case is published for public consumption and is not confidential information – although the identities of the individuals are (as is common with the Court of Protection.