What is it?
The Case Management Pilot scheme was to operate from 1 September 2016 to 31 August 2017 however, the Court of Protection have recently decided to continue the piloted procedures. The Court of Protection Rules and accompanying Practice Directions are to be revised and consolidated before the end of the year and therefore the pilot schemes have been extended until the consolidated Rules are in force.
The Case Management Pilot sets out 3 pathways for Court of Protection proceedings. The 3 pathways are:
- Property and Affairs;
- Health and Welfare; and
- A hybrid pathway for cases that have elements of both Property and Affairs and Health and Welfare.
When does it apply?
The Case Management Pilot applies to all proceedings started in the Court of Protection unless they fall within the specified categories, including but not limited to:
- Uncontested applications;
- Applications for statutory will and gifts; and
- Applications made by the Public Guardian.
Therefore contested Deputyship applications will fall under the rules of the Case Management Pilot.
What is the purpose of it?
The idea of the Case Management Pilot is to encourage parties to reach an agreement regarding the case at an earlier stage. Where early resolution is reached, this will result in less hearings and therefore lower costs. In cases where the application costs are payable from P’s fund, reducing the overall cost is a crucial element especially where P’s resources are limited.
Once an application has become contested, the case is allocated to the appropriate Case Management Pathway. The case will then be allocated for a Dispute Resolution Hearing. All parties will normally be required to attend the Dispute Resolution Hearing and it is an opportunity for the parties to discuss the issues and try and settle the case. The Judge present may give their views on the likely outcome of the proceedings in order to encourage settlement. If the parties settle then a final order can be made, if they are not able to reach an agreement then the Court will give directions for the Final Hearing.
The Dispute Resolution Hearing is not a fact-finding hearing and indeed the content of the hearing cannot be disclosed or used as evidence. Therefore the Final Hearing will be in front of a different Judge to that of the Dispute Resolution Hearing and that Judge may come to a different conclusion.