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Continuation of the Court of Protection Transparency Pilot helps families to understand the decisions being made on behalf of vulnerable persons
As a solicitor specialising in the Court of Protection, I have spent a large part of my time in Court representing clients. Since the implementation of the Transparency Pilot in January 2016, I have seen first-hand the importance to family and close friends of the Court hearings becoming public. In my experience, this approach, together with more hearings being held away from London, has made it possible for those directly involved to attend.
I still believe media involvement should not be the focus given to these changes, but we should be considering how this decision is in the person’s best interest. Public interest will regularly be a factor and allowing the media access enables this to happen; it should bring an end to the views of some that this Court is a “secret”. It is worth remembering that the decisions made by the Court are to help the vulnerable person concerned and are not necessarily a concern or of interest to the general public.
However the family, friends and carers of that person will only be able to fully understand the reasoning behind these decisions if they actually attend the hearing.
The feedback I have received direct from family and friends is always relief, feeling they have been included in the decision-making. Unless you are directly involved or have been specifically notified of a Court application, it is still very difficult to find out the details of a hearing, as this is still not clearly published.
I would encourage all those who wish to express a comment on the matter, or who have an idea as to how these hearings can be made more accessible to the public, to directly contact The Secretariat for The Court of Protection Ad Hoc Rules Committee, Ms Joan Goulbourn, via firstname.lastname@example.org as invited by The Hon Mr Justice Charles, Vice President of the Court of Protection.
Receiving any Order from a Court can be daunting and the wording used is complex. Given that those who are bound by the Order can be liable for penalties for breaking it, it is important to seek the correct guidance and advice. Members of the team at Roythornes are specialists in this area and can assist you in all Court of Protection matters.