High interest rates proved attractive to a patient of the Court of Protection, as Denzil Lush explains

The origins of the Court Funds Office date back to An Act For Better Securing The Monies And Effects Of The Suitors, passed in 1726. Until then, the Masters in Chancery held suitors’ funds in their own accounts and invested them, sometimes speculatively. 

Everything ran smoothly until 1720, when the South Sea Bubble burst and several masters became extremely embarrassed – both financially and professionally.

The catalyst that led to the 1726 Act was the case of the wealthiest woman in the land – Elizabeth, Dowager Duchess of Montagu (1654-1734). A jury of sixteen had unanimously decided that she was a lunatic, at an inquisition held on 31 March 1709, three weeks after the death of her second husband Ral...

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