By Gill Loomes-Quinn and Celia Kitzinger – 24th September 2020
At the Open Justice Court of Protection Project, our key focus is on “Promoting Open Justice in the Court of Protection”, and we are always looking for new ways to support members of the public to access court hearings, make sense of what they see and hear, and report their observations so that the wider public can learn about what goes on inside the Court of Protection’s (virtual) walls.
We have been delighted with the efforts and commitment of the more than 40 people who have so far taken time to observe hearings and write about what they saw and heard. And their contributions to the project have given us lots of insights into how we might better support observers.
In order to make it more straightforward for people to capture and structure their observations (which can be a challenge when court proceedings are speeding past with the observer left trying to grab and note unfamiliar names and key terms) we have developed a simple form consisting of 10 questions. – Some of these questions ask for details (names of parties etc), and others enable you to outline your perspective (e.g. your reasons for wanting to observe a Court of Protection hearing).
We hope people observing hearings will want to use the Hearing Feedback Form. We think it will be useful to you in providing a structure for your observations and prompts as to what to look out for to achieve the best possible understanding of what is going on in court. The completed forms will also be useful to us because we will learn more about the hearings you’ve observed – without relying on you writing a blog for us, although of course we would also welcome this. (Don’t worry if you cannot answer all the questions on the form – whatever you can complete will be valuable to us.)
We would also welcome any thoughts from those who use the form – as to how “user friendly” it is, and any suggestions for amendments. If you observe a hearing and use the Hearing Feedback Form and you have thoughts about how we might improve it (or queries about its content), please feel free to get in touch with us, via the Contact page on our website.
The Hearing Feedback Form is available to download in either MS Word or PDF format (here).
Simply download and complete it (or as much of it as you can), then return it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org – We recommend that you have a look at the questions before the hearing starts, to familiarise yourself with. or remind yourself of what you might look out for.
Gill Loomes-Quinn and Celia Kitzinger are co-directors of the Open Justice Court of Protection Project