Challenges in observing a (remote) hearing at Swansea Civil Justice Centre: Capacity for contact and sexual relations

By Celia Kitzinger, 6th May 2022 I had no idea what this hearing would be about.  I picked it at random because I had an hour free at 10am on the morning of Friday 22nd April, and thought I could profitably use it to perform my civic duty of supporting open justice in the Court of Protection.   Here’sContinue reading “Challenges in observing a (remote) hearing at Swansea Civil Justice Centre: Capacity for contact and sexual relations”

Two years on: A postscript to “Remote justice”

What families mean by “gravitas” (dignity, seriousness, solemnity) does not in fact reside in court architecture, coats of arms, wigs and robes, or rituals of address and behaviour. In my experience, these external manifestations of “justice” can sometimes seem rather ridiculous, and the “performance” element of the courtroom can alienate lay people and distract everyone from the serious business at hand. Rather, the “gravitas” families appreciate is a quality of attention, a focus, a willingness to engage, in depth, with the medico-legal and ethical issues before the court.

When doctors are not willing to offer treatments

By Celia Kitzinger, 13th March 2022 This was an unusual hearing because of its focus on a treatment (clinically assisted nutrition)  that doctors were not willing to offer.   By the day of the hearing, the person at the centre of this case (P) had not received nutrition for 10 days, ever since his nasogastric (NG) tubeContinue reading “When doctors are not willing to offer treatments”

Advocacy in the William Verden hearing: Observations from a trainee barrister

Court of Protection hearings provide very valuable opportunities to observe the practice and effect of oral and written advocacy from skilled QCs and other barristers. Every trainee barrister would come away stronger after observing a Court of Protection hearing…. This was a profoundly useful hearing to observe as a Bar student.

Best interests and kidney transplantation: Closing submissions in the William Verden case

By Bonnie Venter, 7th March 2022 UPDATE: The judgment in this case is now published: Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust v WV [2022] EWCOP 9 (08 March 2022). Latest news: “Autistic kidney-row teen’s transplant ‘a success’“ This post is about the final day of the hearing concerning whether it is in William Verden’s best interestsContinue reading “Best interests and kidney transplantation: Closing submissions in the William Verden case”

Introducing an upcoming hearing: Is a kidney transplant in his best interests?

A 17y/o with kidney disease, learning disability, autism and ADHD is at the centre of a court decision about a kidney transplant. Bonnie Venter (@TheOrganOgress) will be reporting from court over the next 4 days.

Prader-Willi Syndrome and Transparency

A young man with Prader-Willi Syndrome was at the centre of a hearing before Theis J. I can only tell you this because journalist Brian Farmer and I made submissions to the judge saying that we should be allowed to report it and she eventually agreed.

Why members of the public don’t ask earlier to observe hearings (and what to do about it)

udges have suggested repeatedly over the last 18 months – to me, and to other observers –  that we should ask to observe hearings in a timely fashion, giving judges (and advocates and court staff) more warning that we want to be there in court.

A ‘secret’ hearing on life-sustaining treatment

The Health Board was seeking a declaration from the court either [1] that PH does have capacity to refuse nutrition and that his wishes not to continue to be fed should continue to be respected, even if this means his death; OR [2] that PH lacks capacity to refuse nutrition and that it is not in his best interests to attempt to feed him nutrition against his wishes and so he should be allowed to die.

Not quite there yet: My first three attempts to observe a Court of Protection hearing

The Judge then went on to say that as I had only requested access at 10.50pm the evening before, she had not had time to go through formalities.   She then referred to Claire Martin, another public observer (and core member of the Open Justice Court of Protection Project) who was also observing the proceedings and requested that we ‘kindly leave’. So that was that. Abrupt as it was, I duly obliged, and felt slightly down beaten at this point.