RE GMP sub nom KS v JR (2015)
Keywords: Capacity, appointment of deputies
A family member can be appointed as a deputy despite the objections of another family member if the balance of evidence is that the appointment is in P’s best interests. The appointment of a non-family deputy can be unnecessary, disproportionate and infringe the patient’s article 8 rights.
An adult daughter applied for property and affairs deputyship for a mother with dementia. P’s sister objected and contended that the daughter had been deceptive when she had been younger, had been estranged from P, and that P had often told her that she would not want her daughter to be in charge of her affairs.
P had made a will and a Canadian enduring power of attorney in 2011. In both she had appointed her husband, failing whom, her children, to be responsible for her affairs. At the time of the daughter’s application, P’s husband was unwell and himself in receipt of care and P’s son lived in Canada.
P’s son supported the application stating that he believed it was what P would have wanted and attesting to the excellent job the daughter had been doing in helping their parents. P’s husband made a similar statement supporting their daughter’s application. The local authority had no objection to the daughter’s application and the patient’s social worker also supported the application.
It was held that the views of P’s husband, son and social worker in supporting the daughter’s application outweighed the sister’s view. The court took into account the daughter’s conduct during the case, the good working relationships she had formed with P’s carers, medical team and social services, her excellent relationship with her brother and father and her involvement in developing the care plan.
The daughter was appointed as P’s deputy for property and affairs in her best interests. The appointment of a professional deputy or local authority was unnecessary, would be disproportionate and would infringe the patient’s rights article 8 rights by interfering with her choice of a family member to manage her affairs. The court exercised its discretion to go beyond the application and additionally appointed the daughter as a personal welfare deputy taking the view that it was expedient to do so in the circumstances of the case.