Judge Eldergill stated that P had mentioned wanting to be able to go to a restaurant (and there was also some mention of P being able to go to a bank). He referred to Paragraph X (of the Position Statement) which stated that the Home was concerned about P going out alone because he was at risk of absconding. However, the judge raised a point about the seemingly low likely risk of this happening, given that at another paragraph, it stated that P uses a Zimmer frame and so clearly has mobility issues.
The overall tone of the meeting was very positive, non-adversarial and there seemed to be a large degree of agreement between the participants. The judge was very welcoming and the overall impression from everybody was wanting to do the right thing for P.
I hope that my experience will encourage other people to observe hearings, in the spirit of open justice. It was certainly a learning experience for me and I will definitely be observing more often. My experience – at least of this one hearing – is that accessing a COP hearing is not that hard, once the process is navigated.