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JE Bennett Law has very close links with a growing number of local authorities in the South and South East. Our work is focussed on the provision of key Court of Protection or power of attorney-related advice at often crucial moments in the service user’s pathway. In providing those services, the firm is committed to helping the most vulnerable members of our society.

How JE Bennett Law can assist Local Authorities

Jane and the team advise local authorities in relation to complex and/or high value cases on a regular basis. Aside from providing training on legal updates, the team supports local authorities in the provision of statutory services by assisting in the management of difficult issues such as aiding service users in the transition from domiciliary care to residential care. Jane regularly assists in negotiations regarding care associated debts and in discharging the same. Often urgent applications are required to be made to the court and the team is responsive and efficient in meeting the local authority’s needs due to robust internal processes that are in place at the firm to deal with such matters. Contested applications are often required to be managed and Jane and the team regularly deal with such matters providing independent and supportive advice to avoid costly and stressful litigation wherever possible and to provide a mediated approach to resolution of difficult issues between family members and the local authority. Safeguarding, deprivation of liberty, health and welfare and financial aspects are covered with equal skill and commitment.

Mediation and Collaboration

A member of society may become vulnerable, perhaps by losing the ability to manage their own financial and/or care needs, either through dementia related illness; disease; accident or simply old age. They may also be vulnerable in other areas such as being socially isolated. Therefore, for one reason or another, they come to the attention of social services and may need care and support input, or may be self-neglecting at home. They may unwittingly have got into debt and owe the local authority for care fees. Such circumstances often require mediation.

Jane Bennett, the firm’s senior partner, makes the following observations re representing the vulnerable party:

“In circumstances where a person becomes vulnerable for whatever reason, it will often be necessary to provide advice and support to the local authority as well as family members in the course of representing the person’s interests. Recent instances of this approach in action have involved our representing an attorney under Lasting Powers of Attorney for finances and health, where the local authority was responsible for providing the vulnerable party’s care and support needs. The attorney and local authority were at loggerheads. Our approach was collaborative with the result that all parties were ultimately content with the outcome and costly and stressful proceedings in the Court of Protection were avoided.”

...and representing the Local Authority:

“JE Bennett Law also provides solutions specifically on instructions received from local authorities where long-standing and/or significant care-related debts have accrued , causing severe difficulties for the local authority’s financial department. We are often asked to assist in this type of situation, whether by way of an urgent interim application to the Court of Protection for specific directions with regard to debts, or by urging family members to take a more proactive or collaborative approach to difficulties they may be experiencing, whether this may be with the family member, the local authority, or third parties.”

Jane Bennett has spoken at APAD (the Association of Public Authority Deputies) events in relation to the firm’s services, and is often consulted by local authorities requiring legal support and assistance. Jane is frequently asked to make presentations to individual local authorities on key areas of the law regarding the vulnerable client, and on changes in the law. She is also frequently approached in complex or high value cases, where an independent deputy is required. Her appointment to the national panel of professional deputies and wealth of experience in acting as a professional deputy, makes her well placed to deal with such matters expeditiously.

Follow the links for further detail on our work with the Court of Protection