New pilot scheme sees greater access to the Court of Protection
A pilot scheme has beenlaunched which will allow the public and media to gain access toCourt of Protection hearings across England and Wales for the firsttime. The Court of Protection makes rulings in relation tothe property and affairs, health care and personal welfare ofadults (and in some cases children) who lack capacity. TheCourt also has the power to make declarations about whether someonehas capacity to make a particular decision.
The new practice directionwill change the default position, so that cases and hearings willnow be held in public, with reporting restrictions to protectidentities. If a Judge believes a particular case should beheld in private, they will need to issue orders specificallyexcluding the media or public from the courtroom. Court listswill now also provide a short description of each case to help themedia and the public decide whether or not they wish to attend thehearing.
Sir James Munby, President ofthe Court of Protection, said:
"For the last six yearsaccredited media have been able to attend Family Court cases andhave been better informed about the work of the Family Court as aresult. It is logical to look at extending this greatertransparency to the Court of Protection, provided the right balancecan be struck to safeguard the privacy of people who lack capacityto make their own decisions."
The pilotscheme is set to run for six months until 31 July 2016 with thepossibility of an extension and will apply to hearings in allproceedings except applications relating to serious medicaltreatment.
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.