Joanne Early reported that there was an overall 3% increase in applications made. However, there has been a 48% increase in DOLs applications. 80% of applications have been issued within the 5-day target.
There is still a high volume of incorrect applications and in the last month 401 applications were returned, with 180 applications from professionals.
There has been a slight drop in final orders being issued within their targets, but this is partly because one of the court authorising officers has left. This position is currently being advertised. However, they have recently appointed two new Judges for First Avenue House.
The Court manager made a plea that, when sending information that is linked to a hearing or a draft order, the title page or email heading should state “Hearing on (date)” or “draft order for approval.” This will allow them to pull the email or letter out at the earliest opportunity and it is not missed or overlooked. She also said that users should either send it by email or send it by post. You should do not do both, as this duplicates their processes and checking.
The Court Manager stated that the telephone call centre was working well, with over 99% of calls being answered within one minute which is a massive improvement.
Multiple points of entry
Madhu Kuma stated that there was a further development for points of entry for applications to the Court. They are due to implement a pilot for the Regional Hubs to accept applications for section 16 Health and Welfare and s21a Deprivation of Liberty. They will go live with the South West on 30th April 2018 and then the other hubs will accept applications from 25th June. All other types of applications will still need to be sent to First Avenue. The Regional Hubs, when receiving the applications, will then case manage the file, not First Avenue.
There will be a review of the pilot later in the year to assess how it is working.
Please see full details: Multiple Points of Entry Scheme – http://sfe.marzell.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/HMCTS-Letter-to-Court-Users-Multiple-Points-of-Entry-Scheme_.pdf
If there are any queries about it, you can email http://Civil&FamilyBusinessSupport@Justice.gov.uk
The ALR scheme went live on 2nd April 2018, but there have been no referrals to the panel as yet. When an ALR is required, the Court will choose a member on the panel and send them an email to ask them provisionally to agree to take on the case within 24 hours. If no response is received, then they will go down the list to the next member on the panel. Once accepted, the Court will issue a standard order for the panel member to investigate the financial situation and obtain a legal aid certificate, if required.
The panel will be worked on a rotation system, for it to be fair for all members.
A question was raised about how quick the sealing of orders was being issued for serious medical treatment cases. A process has been agreed that they should be issued within 24 hours by the 3rd tier Judge.
Capacity of evidence re PI
Senior Judge Hilder stated that this question had been dealt with at the last meeting and it was confirmed that this was not for the COP to deal with. It was a question for the High Court.
A question was raised about bond values and the working out by Judges as to what the levels should be set at. Joan Goulburn from the Ministry of Justice said that this was under review with them and the OPG.
Fee Exemption Process
A question was raised with regard to the fee exemption process. The manager stated that they were aware of some isolated incident to which the person was referring, but as far as they were aware, this was a one off that was dealt with and on the whole, there were no problems with the fee exemption process.
The formal minutes for the meeting are also available in the members area of the SFE website: sfe.legal » Members homepage » Community » SFE Representations » Court of Protection – Court User Group