Important tips for wardship cases
06 November 2020
I recently had the pleasure of moving a Wardship application virtually. The High Court eventually came on circuit to Killorglin!
Just a couple of pointers:
This was a straight forward Wardship application for a 87 year old male in a nursing home. The family needed to access funds of the Ward to discharge nursing home charges. I would normally organise a Consultant Geriatrician and a GP for my medicals. In light of Covid restrictions, the Ward of Courts office indicated to me that two GPs would be sufficient. Further I followed the Affidavit of Service format as supplied by the Wards of Court office. My application was before Ms Justice Niamh Hyland.
Hyland J made the following points:-
- She reminded all practitioners on the call of the recent practice direction on the format of Affidavits of Capacity for Wardship cases. See this months Gazette. From now all Affidavits must follow this format.
- She was of the view that my two GP Affidavits were too scant and required further detail. In fact she passed comment that the Affidavit and Report of the Ward of Court appointed doctor was also somewhat short.
- She also noted that she thought it would be better to have a consultant geriatrician for at least one of the affidavits.
- She noted the contents of the Affidavit of Service but felt it should have more detail. The Affidavit should have spelt out in more detail that Wardship was explained to the Ward, the purpose of the visit, the contents of the documents being served and generally a greater fleshing out of the Affidavit to ensure that it was fully explained to the Ward what was occurring. I had arranged for my Secretary to conduct the service. Hyland J wanted me to provide evidence about the last time I had visited the ward, what his condition was and whether or not he was capable of understanding. She wished to have that extra re-assurance that my client was someone suitable for Wardship. It was about a year ago since I last met my client and by that stage he had lost Capacity and I gave evidence of that nature.
So, some interesting pointers from the Court. It was very beneficial to make my own application considering I normally used Pearts to assist in moving standard applications. Hopefully remote applications of this nature for wardship cases will be a more regular feature post Covid.