Short-termism poses biggest threat to clients' long-term wellbeing
Professional deputies urged to use courts to achieve best outcome by senior judge
Short-termism is the biggest threat to the long-term wellbeing of vulnerable clients, the senior judge of the Court of Protection has warned.
Speaking at Frenkel Topping's The Art of Wellbeing conference in London, Denzil Lush told delegates, who are largely involved with personal injury claimants, to ensure short-term decisions do not jeopardise a client's long-term wellbeing.
'It is a serious problem for the country as a whole. Economists have identified it as being partly responsible for damaging our economy or at least stifling its recovery,' he said.
'One of the reasons for this is that, under the Companies Act 2006, shareholders have become too powerful and, as a result, corporate managers have tended to concentrate on short-term shareholder returns...even though this course of action isn't in the company's best interests long-term.'
Lush, who is to step down from his current role this summer, referred to a book entitled Wellbeing: The Five Elements, which highlighted five essential elements to a person's wellbeing: career, social, financial, physical, and community.
The text highlighted that 66 per cent of all people are doing well in all these areas, while just 7 per cent are thriving in all five.
Lush highlighted that short-termism, in the context of financial wellbeing and community wellbeing, are the two areas that professional deputies have the greatest impact.
On the latter, the senior judge said: 'Time after time in personal injury and clinical negligence cases, I have seen families, who have hitherto had a strong sense of community wellbeing, make the disastrous mistake of moving away from that community to something that they think will be better.
Concluding his speech, Lush told delegates to ensure short-term interests do not affect their relationship with clients.
'Don't allow this to sour your relationship with the client and their family, but bring the matter before the court and get a judge to decide how to achieve the right balance between your client's well-being and the interests of their relatives and friends.'