Court of Protection solicitors usually pay for Charity endorsement and Law Society Mental Capacity Accreditation.
They increasingly work for large Alternative Business Structures which market themselves as old style solicitors but are commercially aware corporations with scant competition and no personal liability .
Fees and services are therefore fairly standardised.
These lawyers are also contracted by the government to act as Official Solicitors.
To attend the hearing to remove your loved one in less than 24 hours you will be billed £500 over the phone and informed that this is half the legal aid rate.
On arrival at court you meet your lawyer who liaises with the LA solicitor and tells you that if you agree their Orders, you can avoid the police arriving to remove .
So faced with no option you agree to anything.
If you do not, the judge will usually order what the LA want anyway.
What you are unlikely to be told is that removal of your loved is unlikely at this point, as ‘incapacity‘ has not been assessed, an Official Solicitor not yet appointed and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards not yet in place.
Your protestation that allegations of parental incapacity, abuse and neglect are out of context, unfair and/ or lies is ignored.
It would appear such allegations do not need to be proved.
In contrast to care proceedings where s31(2) Childrens Act provides it must be proved that a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm on the balance of probabilities, there is no such requirement for an adult under the MCA and courts have stated Parliament did not intend there to be one.
Rarely, if ever, will the court hold a specific fact finding hearing on allegations made by social services .
Such a failure of natural justice/ due process can only aid false, unfair accusations against families now that only residential care is funded.
A Local Authority v PB and P, one of the few judgments on fact finding, saw the removal of an ‘incapacitated’ adult from his mother on the basis of her alleged inadequate care.
Charles J noting ‘there are a number of ways in which the best interests issues can be put to the court. Some of them may well involve proceeding on the basis that historical disputes of fact can be left as that and as matters of disagreement .(As they were in this case.) In other cases, that would not be so’.
But no reported cases indicate what these ‘other cases’ might be.
So we haven’t a clue when/if fact finding will be deemed necessary as a separate exercise or even as part of a ‘best interests’ checklist .
And there is no judicial, or practice direction, or indeed any guidance.
So at best, fact finding is ad hoc and rare in today’s clogged up courts where judges are under a statutory duty to have regard to the costs of proceedings.
The allegations upon which hundreds of thousands of families have been torn apart for life, assets seized and liberty lost have never been proved.
Attempts at forcing proof of social services allegations are case management issues and any appeal against refusal is limited to a local High Court judge, and LA and OS legal costs may be payable.
So for now your loved one is still at home, but you have to allow social workers into your house at least once a week, a s49 GP physical assessment, capacity, psychological and financial assessments and NHS Continuing Care Assessments and Carers Assessments.
The evidence gathering continues and the next hearing date is set.