I think now that the Court of Protection is open to the Press, we’re going to see more of this happening. There’s quite a wait for a Judgment to be transcribed, approved and put on Bailii, so the Press who are present are able to report the drama of a case without a judgment available to allow those who weren’t there to see the nuance or how the competing issues were balanced.
In which Hayden J dealt with a person lacking capacity, who was pulling feeding tubes out of his body, over a hundred times. Was it in his best interests to continue to insert the tube, or to discontinue it, even though that might lead to his death? Hayden J ruled that it was in the person’s best interests to stop the treatment. Kudos to the Guardian for not labelling this a ‘right to die’ case, but boo for trotting out the stock and misleading phrase that the Court of Protection deals with ‘the sick and vulnerable’ (no, it deals with people who are believed to be lacking capacity to make their own decisions, who may ALSO be sick and vulnerable, but the overwhelming majority of sick people will never come anywhere near the Court of Protection and plenty of people are vulnerable without lacking capacity. )
Annoyingly for a lawyer, the Guardian piece doesn’t set out how Hayden J balanced the individual’s best interests (and one can infer from his actions what his wishes might be) against the article 2 right to life – since this isn’t a case like Tony Bland and others where there was no response (the evidence was that the man reacted to family mentioning Manchester United – by smiling) or a Lady who sparkled case of someone with capacity rejecting treatment just as any of us can do.
So we need to see that. It is perhaps illustrative of something of a shift in Court of Protection away from the patrician and towards autonomy, but without a judgment, I can’t say.
There’s also a C-section case with social workers in the wings seeking to initiate care proceedings, and we know what a hot-button topic that is.
And it would be handy to see the judgment in full, to assess whether this was proportionate, and whether the high tests for C-section without consent were applied.
Then in Children Act cases, there is
In which it is said that a child was placed with Special Guardians and the placement lasted two weeks, with the Special Guardians spending their allowance on drugs, alcohol and gambling. Not perhaps the most robust of assessments, if it didn’t spot that they were assessing someone with all of those problems. [Even most TV cop shows would draw the line at their flawed hero having all THREE of those problems all at once]
And this one
Where an ISW described a contact session as positive and enjoyable, whereas the Guardian described it as the worst she had ever seen and horrifying.
I’d love to write about all four of these cases, but in the absence of judgments, I’ve got no source material.
My teeth are gnashed. If I had an alligator to hand, I might well throw it through a window, to express my dissatisfaction.
I’ll leave you with Lowering the Bar, who report that the Court in Pennsylvania (which I believe is staffed by little cute mice and bunnies and squirrels, or alternatively vampires – those are the two connotations of Sylvania that I hold in my head) have had to put up a notice to tell people attending Court not to wear pjyamas to Court (they are American and call that pajamas)
I did once see a woman attend Court wearing a wedding dress (no, it was not actually her wedding day), and I represented lots of wealthy farmers back in my divorce days who would come along in their worst possible clothes (ragged, patched, gaping holes, egg-stains) to try to put in the Judge’s mind how poor they must be, but I have never seen anyone attend Court wearing PJs.