An urgent court-authorised Caesarean: Seeing behind a published judgment

I can see why planned care for someone in a highly distressed and deteriorating state is attractive on many fronts. However, like the Court, I really struggle with the sense that there seems to have been no attempt to engage openly and honestly with Miss K, at a time when she may have been better placed to consider her wishes and feelings in an inevitably harrowing situation. 

Chaos in court and incompetent decision-making: Visual monitoring Part 2

By Claire Martin, 17th June 2021 This hearing, on 6th and 7th May 2021 before HHJ Howells at Wrexham County and Family Court (COP 13575520 Re: B) was the second hearing I’ve observed concerning “David” – a 39-year-old man with a severe learning disability, poorly controlled epilepsy and congenital cerebral palsy with right-sided hemiplegia.  At the previous hearing, onContinue reading “Chaos in court and incompetent decision-making: Visual monitoring Part 2”

Happy First Birthday to the Open Justice Court of Protection Project

Celia Kitzinger and Gill Loomes-Quinn, 15th June 2021 One year ago today, on 15th June 2020, we launched the Open Justice Court of Protection Project, a child of the pandemic.  It was born of our passionate belief that “publicity is the very soul of justice” at a time when it seemed that the public health emergencyContinue reading “Happy First Birthday to the Open Justice Court of Protection Project”

Evidence of risk of planned home birth

By James Walker, 11th June 2021 Other experts who have contributed to this Project’s discussion of the Court of Protection case of An Expectant Mother [2021] EWCOP 33 are not alone in the misunderstanding of the data surrounding home births. This is largely due to the fact that the presentation of the data is influencedContinue reading “Evidence of risk of planned home birth”

Faith, Science and the objectivity of expert evidence

“If organisations like Christian Concern are willing to spend time and money on conducting their ‘pro-life’ campaigns via courtroom litigation, and can find experts willing to act for them, there may be very little the Court of Protection can do to prevent them.”

Ambiguity and uncertainty in clinical reasoning

“So,  I would not only allow but would actively encourage video recording, especially by family members, and especially of observed behaviours the family believe may not have been seen or noticed by clinical observers. If this is openly discussed at an early stage, the clinical team can, at the same time, point out that any recorded material must not be disseminated beyond those people who have a legitimate personal relationship with the patient”

The Prologue to a Life Story

By Rebecca Poz, 18th February 2021 I have attended court before, both in person pre-Covid, and remotely in 2020. I have attended Magistrate’s Court, Crown Courts, the Court of Protection and the High Court, as well as Fitness to Practice Hearings, but I have only ever attended as an Expert Witness, and once as aContinue reading “The Prologue to a Life Story”

Capacity for sex and marriage

By Claire Martin and Celia Kitzinger, 22nd January 2021 Back in October 2020, a hearing before Mr Justice Poole (COP 13551368) was adjourned, part-heard, after inadequate reports from the expert witness, Dr Quinn.  He reported that the person at the centre of the case (she’s “AG” in the judgment and we called her “Barbara” in our previous blog) lacked theContinue reading “Capacity for sex and marriage”

Autoerotic asphyxiation: capacity and best interests

This case centred around whether an individual, let’s call him ‘James’, had capacity to decide whether or not to engage in a sexual activity known as autoerotic asphyxiation (AEA), the practice of strangling or suffocating oneself during masturbation to heighten sexual arousal. The question of capacity also concerned James’ engagement with other individuals on the internet.

When Expert Evidence Fails

A hearing before Mr Justice Poole (COP 13551368) listed for three days (26-28 October 2020) was adjourned, only part-heard, because of inadequate reports from the expert witness. The expert witness, Dr Q, a consultant psychiatrist, gave evidence that the person at the centre of the case (let’s call her Barbara) lacked mental capacity to make any of the decisions before the court. His evidence simply collapsed under cross-examination.