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The Ministry of Justice has published a consultation paper proposing that some decisions on straightforward applications to the Court of Protection are taken by authorised court officers.
The Court of Protection deals with issues relating to vulnerable or elderly people who lack the capacity to make decisions themselves.
At present all applications to the Court must be decided by a judge, even if the issue involved is not contentious, such as an undisputed application for a person to become a ‘property and affairs deputy' in order to make financial decisions on behalf of a relative or friend.
Judges will continue to take all decisions which relate to health and welfare issues, but the consultation proposes that some types of application could be dealt with by authorised court officers.
The MoJ says this would reduce the time it takes to deal with routine matters and free up judicial time to focus on the more difficult and sensitive issues the Court has to deal with.
The consultation runs until 20 September 2011.