Court of Protection to go public

The Court of Protection has always been a closely guarded entity, with cases heard in private or only with those directly involved. However, it was recently announced that from January 2016, a six month pilot scheme will be trialled across the country testing whether some cases may be heard in front of a public, private or simply media-filled audience.

There are stipulations, and even though most cases are set to be heard in public, there will be exceptions with Anonymity Orders being granted if requested to protect those concerned in sensitive cases. The Court has always advocated that most matters they deal with are only ever heard in private with simply those people involved in the case being present.

Officials have said the scheme will provide greater transparency while still protecting the privacy of individuals who lack capacity to make decisions for themselves.

Mr Justice Charles, Vice President of the Court, said he supported a move towards more public hearings to improve the Court’s performance, but added that he understood that others felt differently. “I hope that the pilot will provide useful evidence to weigh the rival arguments,” he said.

Do you agree with him?

Sir James Munby, President of the Court, said: “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 Court intends to provide a brief description of each case in order to assist visiting members of the public and media to decide if they want to attend that particular sitting.

The pilot scheme could be extended if proved successful.

What are your views on this matter? Do you agree the scheme could bring greater transparency, while still protecting the privacy of those involved?

Please let us know by leaving a comment below.

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