For those of you who don’t know or who are unaware, the Official Solicitor is a team of government lawyers based in London and appoints solicitors to act on behalf of individuals. Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, anyone who is deemed incapable of administering their own affairs must have a 'litigant friend' who can instruct on their behalf.
A budget shortfall has left the Official Solicitor only able to deal with emergency cases. The Official Solicitor deals with cases on behalf of those people who are incapable of administering their own affairs - this includes elderly with dementia and people with learning difficulties.
Many hundreds of vulnerable people in the UK who are seeking court decisions about where they can live, disputes over relatives' access to family members etc look set to experience months of delays because the government expert who protects their interests has almost run out of money. Surely the budget for advocating the rights of the vulnerable warrants a greater budget than has presently been allocated. This is certainly a topic for conversation.