Senior Judge Hilder has approved the circulation of the following update (17 April 2020) in terms of the approach being taken to COPDOL11 applications during the period of Covid-19 restrictions:
The DoLS team is now accepting COPDOL11 applications by e-mail. Each application received will be added to the current list of matters awaiting determination, so that cases will be considered in order of receipt unless the patient is awaiting discharge from hospital (referral to the resident urgent business judge) or has a planned imminent move date (referral to the next available DoLS judge).
All applications must be complete including medical evidence as without this the court does not have jurisdiction.
The documents must be a separate PDF and clearly identified i.e. DOL11, COP3, Best interest etc.
As a temporary measure whilst the pandemic is restricting normal working, documents will be accepted with an electronic signature. Photographs of any documents provided by the Rule 1.2 Representative are acceptable provided they are fully legible.
Orders are now being sent to Local Authorities and CCGs by e-mail. The care plan (which often runs to 50 or so pages) will not be appended to the e-mail. As the date of the care plan is referred to in the order and Local Authorities/CCGs have their own original copy, hard copies will be sent by post to Local Authority/CCG offices as normal.
Stayed applications are not being progressed during the pandemic because General Visitors are not available. Orders which have already been made lifting a stay will have a longer period for submission of updated documents when the order is issued.
If it is apparent that you are unable to comply with deadlines for filing documents, please inform the DOLS team by e-mail of the proposed date for filing, and we will diarise the matter accordingly. If the progress of the case is affected, the matter will be referred to a judge for consideration.
Please try not to chase us for updates on applications unless there is specific urgency. We are now a team of only 4 staff working hard to assist every LA and CCG in the country.
[For further guidance about the COPDOL11 process more generally, see the 39 Essex Chambers guide here].