17. EG v RS, JS and BEN PCT (His Honour Judge Cardinal, Birmingham Civil Justice Centre, 3 August 2010). RS was born in 1963 and has a brain injury as a result of a road traffic accident in 1994. There is an ongoing dispute between his sister, JS, and his deputy for property and affairs and primary carer, CH, who happens to be JS’s former husband. A female solicitor, EG, has been acting for CH in this dispute. In January 2009 EG applied to the court to be appointed as RS’s personal welfare deputy. JS opposed the application. At a hearing in Birmingham on 25 August 2009 District Judge Owen refused EG’s application for permission, and ordered her to pay the costs of JS, the Official Solicitor and the PCT because he considered that her application was ill-judged and misconceived. EG appealed. HH Judge Cardinal dismissed the appeal, apart from allowing by consent an order that the costs be paid by EG’s firm, and not by her personally.
At paragraph 38(iv) he said:
- “I endorse the view that professionals should not be discouraged from making applications; but there must be a limit to such applications where there is clear opposition and acrimony given the role of the would-be Deputy hitherto. It seems to me that such an applicant ought to ask him or herself:
- Am I in any way compromised by my intervention to date?
- Is there any evidence of my taking sides too strongly?
- Can I be sure all parties will indeed regard me as a neutral arbitrator?
- Am I really suitable given the history of conflict with my client and my support of him?
- Would my appointment mean more conflict?
- Had EG asked herself those questions then it is clear she would never have applied.”