For the first time, an organisation has been established to represent the interests of professional deputies and their support staff in England and Wales.
The PDF –The Professional Deputies Forum – has been established to be just that; a forum for solicitors and legal executives who act as professional deputies and those who work alongside them to share news, views and best practice, while also providing a collective voice to act as a conduit between members and third parties such as the Office of the Public Guardian, the Ministry of Justice, the Court of Protection and the Law Society.
The aim of The PDF is to contribute to the work of professional deputies on matters concerning vulnerable adults who lack or have limited mental capacity. This is a challenging as well as a growing area of work and a shared forum aims to work for its members and most importantly, those they work for. As this area of work grows so does the need for a body that can both support and represent its practitioners. This will include those working alongside professional deputies, such as solicitors, trainees and paralegals who may be learning or highly experienced, but who are also their lifeblood and their future.
At the heart of The PDF – its ‘forum’ will be a brand new website to provide a platform for news, articles and commentary as well as a discussion forum and a facility for votes and surveys on topical issues. This will allow The PDF to evolve in response to its members’ requirements. The aim will be to complement this with meetings and conferences.
The PDF is an independent, not for profit company. At present, there are three directors – Russell Caller, the Director of the Court of Protection Services at Gillhams Solicitors LLP, Holly Chantler, the Head of Private Clients at Morrisons Solicitors and Martin Terrell, a partner in the Private Client Department and head of the Court of Protection Team at Warners Solicitors. All three directors are experienced professional panel deputies.
Deputy Membership is open to all Court of Protection appointed deputies who are solicitors and legal executives (as well as individual directors of trust corporations acting as deputies), with Associate Membership available for other members of staff who assist those deputies.
There is also an Honorary Membership to be designated by the PDF to those persons who have special skills and/or knowledge concerning deputyship and Court of Protection matters.