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Wards of Court backlog leads to Fair Deal delays

The welfare of people who cannot make decisions for themselves is being put into jeopardy by cutbacks delaying the granting of Ward of Court status, it has been claimed.

A Ward of Court application is made on behalf of vulnerable people who have become unable to manage their own affairs.

Once someone is made a Ward of Court, the President of the High Court becomes responsible for their welfare and assets.

Among those who fall into this area are people with dementia, whose assets have to be protected — particularly if they want to make an application under the Fair Deal nursing-home scheme.

Ward of Court applications can also be made in the case of someone with an acquired brain injury.

However, solicitors have recently been told that they will have to wait more than eight months to complete the process.

“In 2011, the timescale from submitting the initial Petitioner’s Application to the court, dealing with the court queries, to getting the Ward of Court order was around four months,” said Rush, Co Dublin solicitor Dermot McNamara, who works in the area.

“We now have an application with the court for some eight months, but the Wards of Court Office says it cannot give us an indication when it might be heard as it has many applications waiting to be listed and is very short-staffed.

“If Ward of Court status cannot be granted in a reasonable period of time and a person needs nursing-home care, then no decisions can be made and the whole process grinds to a halt.”

Read the full article here.

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