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Company discharged as deputy for breach of fiduciary duty

8 September 2017, by Bethan Harris

Bethan Harris

The Public Guardian v Matrix Deputies Limited (1) LB Enfield (2) [2017] EWCOP 14, HHJ Hilder, 19 July 2017

Applications were made in relation to 44 individuals, seeking the discharge/refusal of appointment of Matrix Deputies Ltd as property and affairs deputy.

Matrix Deputies Limited’s core business was to manage the property and affairs of people lacking mental capacity. The Public Guardian alleged excessive fee charging, inappropriate/inadequate arrangements for recording client funds and transactions, conflict of interests arising from inappropriate relationships with other bodies and failure to provide information requested/to comply with orders for disclosure.

Matrix Deputies admitted the sale of 3 properties belonging to protected persons in which it instructed a particular estate agency who charged each of the protected persons 1.5% of the sale price and paid to Matrix Deputies 0.5%. It was held that this was a clear system of financial benefit to Matrix Deputies at the expense of the persons to whom it owed a fiduciary duty. After 20 months of litigation it conceded the applications so no further findings of fact were made. The court was satisfied that it was not a suitable organisation for continued or new appointment as property and affairs deputy for the individuals concerned and the appointments were discharged/refused.

It was ordered to pay the local authority’s costs on an indemnity basis.

The new deputies were directed to file reports addressing quantification of loss (if any) to each individual estate attributable to the actions of the discharged deputies and their position as to calling in the bond.

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