Judge: Senior Judge Lush

Citation: [2016] EWCOP 1

In this case the Senior Judge had to consider who to appoint as P’s deputy in circumstances where there was conflict between the children of P’s first marriage (the respondents) and the child of his second marriage (the applicant).

The applicant proposed her solicitor. The respondents objected on the grounds that the applicant’s solicitor would not be seen to be sufficiently independent and there was an appearance of bias. Also, P’s affairs were complex and the applicant’s solicitor did not have experience of investigating the financial affairs of a person with multinational business interests. The respondents, therefore, proposed a panel deputy if one of the respondents or P’s accountant were found unsuitable.

The Senior Judge found that it would be inappropriate to appoint one of the respondents as there was a need to investigate their handling of P’s affairs. He also rejected the appointment of the accountant as he had not been efficient in his handling of P’s affairs.

Thus the issue was whether to appoint the applicant’s solicitor or a panel deputy. The Senior Judge chose the latter (see paragraphs 41-45). Firstly because of the appearance of bias and the need to ensure that a deputy is and is seen to be independent referring to the judgment of Judge Cardinal in EG v RS JS and BEN PCT [2010] EWCOP 3073 [2010] COPLR Con Vol 350:

It is just not possible to act as an honest broker on one hand and firmly on the side of one party alone on the other. It should have been clear even then to EG that she simply could not realistically pursue the application. Later on in his submissions to me Mr O’Brien posed the question what would an ordinary member of the public think? The obvious answer is that the appointee has a prejudice, a bias in favour of his/her client.

The second reason was that P’s affairs needed the attention of a deputy from a firm experienced in investigating white collar crime and bringing proceedings for the recovery of misappropriated funds, and which has access in-house to international and corporate expertise, if necessary.

CategoryDeputies - Financial and property affairs Date


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