What is it about April Fool's Day that regulators find so hard to resist foisting their unfunny jokes on the beleaguered legal profession. The Jackson reforms were set to be implemented from 1st April notwithstanding very late publication of the rules, a less than fine tradition going back at least as far as the Woolf changes implemented on the same date in 1999 when, guess what, the CPR were published only a couple of months or so before the Day of Practical Jokes.
Clearly, someone at the Office of Public Guardian has taken a shine to the idea, hence the notice published today, that in 10 days' time many of the forms used in the making and registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney will be changed and must be used from that date. When will the forms be available? On the 1st of April, the very day from which they become obligatory.
Now, in a world that the OPG seems to think still exists, where every form is either printed and written on or downloaded and completed from scratch, this would be fine. But the OPG apparently has some inkling that some of us have become a little more advanced in our working practices, for it makes the helpful suggestion, "check that any form-filling software you use has been updated in line with the changes to the [forms]".
Well, thanks guys. Form-filling software comprises collection of data and workflows and the programming of forms. It is not a 5-minute job. At a stroke, the investment in such systems is rendered useless until the software can catch up. Would it have been too much to supply the forms a month or so in advance of the changes, so that software amendments could be properly planned and implemented?
I should know better, but I felt compelled to ask these questions of the OPG by email this afternoon, but received a reply that Kafka would have been moved to write about, to the effect that their targets are to answer correspondence within 10 working days and we know what date that takes us past...