Best interests in a contested end-of-life case: Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v AH & Ors [2021] EWCOP 51

What Claire and I witnessed in the Court of Protection was a determined, serious, and lengthy attempt on the part of the judge to determine what AH would want, in the absence of any direct record to help him.  Mr Justice Hayden tried very hard to find out what her wishes would be, and to respect them – giving effect to her autonomy and self-determination.

When an academic theory becomes reality: The applicability of section 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983 versus section 5 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005

By Jennifer O’Neill, 3rd August 2021 On 27th July 2021 I observed a remote hearing (via Microsoft Teams) brought before Mr Justice Hayden in the Court of Protection: COP 1354439T Re: PH.   Having observed my first remote hearing in the Court of Protection a few weeks earlier (Re AH COP 13783897), I was aware that when observing such hearings,Continue reading “When an academic theory becomes reality: The applicability of section 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983 versus section 5 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005”

Court considers how to operate against patient’s will

By Daniel Cloake, 2nd August 2021 This report concerns a case (COP 12132507 In the Matter of “AB” ) before The Hon. Mr Justice Hayden sitting remotely on 20 July 2021. The subject matter of the hearing was presented like this in the Transparency Order: This application is listed for hearing at 10.30 am onContinue reading “Court considers how to operate against patient’s will”

Life-sustaining treatment contrary to his best interests: Lessons from a supplementary hearing

By Jenny Kitzinger, 30 July 2021 The hearing I attended at the Court of Protection on 15th July 2021 (Case No. 1375980T before Mr Justice Hayden) was unusual in that it was described by the judge as a “supplementary hearing”. I’d not come across this type of hearing before, so was interested in the format and processContinue reading “Life-sustaining treatment contrary to his best interests: Lessons from a supplementary hearing”

Observing a Court of Protection hearing as year 11 and year 13 students

By Martha Purdy,  Meg Aitken and Claire Martin, 22nd July 2021 Attending a Court of Protection hearing is an excellent opportunity to see justice in action. Two students, Meg – about to start medical training in September 2021, and Martha – starting A levels in September and interested in Law, joined Claire (part of the Core TeamContinue reading “Observing a Court of Protection hearing as year 11 and year 13 students”

A best interest decision about life-sustaining treatment for a person with profound neurological injury following COVID-19 infection

d is enormous and awful to read about” such that she “will never be able to live outside of residential care” and “things that have been dear to her, she will never be able to enjoy in the way she would have contemplated”.  But he clearly stated that this “hypothetical factual matrix” (i.e. even if these facts are all true), “does not automatically indicate a clear best interests outcome”.   

Delay is inimical to P’s welfare: Guidance on clinically-assisted nutrition and hydration for PDoC patients

e of poor practice, and active resistance from some quarters, the court could also make clear that continued provision of medical treatment when it is not in someone’s best interests is an assault, and that clinicians will not be able to rely on the defence in s.5 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 – meaning that there is a risk to them and to their organisations of claims for damages.

“What is he saying to us?” The ‘voice’ of a hunger-striking man in a best interests decision about his medical treatment

By Gill Loomes-Quinn, 14th July 2021 During the afternoon of Tuesday 25th May 2021, I found myself back in the (virtual) Court of Protection for what was my first observation for several months. I was expecting to observe the latest hearing in Case Number COP 1275114 Re RD (Emma Heron and Olwen Cockell had written about an earlierContinue reading ““What is he saying to us?” The ‘voice’ of a hunger-striking man in a best interests decision about his medical treatment”

Delays in finding an Acquired Brain Injury Placement: “A very significant degree of muddle”

By Gaby Parker, 29th June 2021 On 23rd June 2021 I observed a hearing (via MS Teams) before Mr Justice Hayden in the Court of Protection: COP 1354439T Re. PH.  The case was about finding a suitable placement for P who remains in hospital although he is fit for discharge and has been for a long time. TheContinue reading “Delays in finding an Acquired Brain Injury Placement: “A very significant degree of muddle””

Urgency, delayed decision-making and ethics in the Court of Protection

reatment for patients who are unable to decide for themselves. In England and Wales, they haven’t, or only extremely rarely, been called as expert witnesses. Yet ethics is obviously central to the work of the Court of Protection. And if this hearing is anything to go by, if judges or barristers were willing to call on them, it seems that there could be a place for an ethicist in the courtroom.