New pilot scheme sees greater access to the Court of Protection

A pilot scheme has been launched which will allow the public and media to gain access to Court of Protection hearings across England and Wales for the first time.  The Court of Protection makes rulings in relation to the property and affairs, health care and personal welfare of adults (and in some cases children) who lack capacity.  The Court also has the power to make declarations about whether someone has capacity to make a particular decision.

The new practice direction will change the default position, so that cases and hearings will now be held in public, with reporting restrictions to protect identities.  If a Judge believes a particular case should be held in private, they will need to issue orders specifically excluding the media or public from the courtroom.  Court lists will now also provide a short description of each case to help the media and the public decide whether or not they wish to attend the hearing.

Sir James Munby, President of the Court of Protection, said:

"For the last six years accredited media have been able to attend Family Court cases and have been better informed about the work of the Family Court as a result. It is logical to look at extending this greater transparency to the Court of Protection, provided the right balance can be struck to safeguard the privacy of people who lack capacity to make their own decisions."

The pilot scheme is set to run for six months until 31 July 2016 with the possibility of an extension and will apply to hearings in all proceedings except applications relating to serious medical treatment.


Posted on: 01/02/2016

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.

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