Re HNL: ATL v Public Guardian [2015] EWCOP 77, [2015] MHLO 122

"This is an application regarding the payment of a gratuitous care allowance. To describe the allowance as 'gratuitous' is slightly incongruous, as it is a payment towards the cost of maintenance of a close relative, who provides care and case management services to someone who is severely incapacitated because of an impairment of, or a disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain. ... The Public Guardian is currently reviewing all gratuitous care allowances paid by deputies to family members, particularly in cases where the person to whom the proceedings relate has been awarded damages for clinical negligence or personal injury. Because the number of families who are receiving allowances of this kind and are affected by the Public Guardian's review runs into thousands, I have concluded that it would be in the public interest to publish this judgment. ... Having regard to all the circumstances, therefore, I am satisfied that it is in Helen's best interests for Adrian to continue to provide care and case management services to her and that until further order he should be paid an allowance of £23,000 a year, tax-free in accordance with ESM4016. Even though Adrian has not specifically requested it, I propose to give him the option of index-linking future payments of the allowance. ... I understand that the Public Guardian will shortly be issuing a practice note on gratuitous care payments. ... In our initial discussions, the OPG suggested that these payments should be reviewed regularly. However, a review process of this kind is not cheap and, inevitably, it will have a knock-on effect on the amounts sought by claimants in respect of Court of Protection costs in future claims for damages for personal injury and clinical negligence. ... In Helen's case, because of the wide gulf between the commercial value of the services Adrian is providing and the actual payment he is receiving, I consider that it would be disproportionate to go through this process too frequently, and I suggest that Adrian's gratuitous care allowance should be formally reviewed again in 2022 or earlier, if necessary, because of a change in his or Helen's circumstances."

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