You may not have heard of the Court of Protection but it is very important.
The Court of Protection is a specialist Court that makes decisions on financial, or welfare matters for people who lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions. There may be a variety of reasons why a person lacks capacity including a physical or mental illness, a brain injury following an accident or medical negligence, a stroke, or a learning disability.
If a person lacks the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their property and finances or their health and welfare and there is not a valid Enduring Power of Attorney or Lasting Power of Attorney in place that allows for those decisions to be made on their behalf, then an application to the Court of Protection should be considered.
Headlines about the Court of Protection will sometimes refer to it as the "Secret Court" making decisions behind closed doors.
The Open Justice Court of Protection Project works to promote open justice in the Court of Protection. The Project is independent and is run on a voluntary basis without funding. The Project encourages public access to the Court of Protection by sharing details of hearings that are open to the public. They provide information and support to those who wish to observe hearings and they also report on hearings they have observed.
I would encourage anyone interested in observing a Court of Protection hearing to check out the Project's website Promoting Open Justice in the Court of Protection (openjusticecourtofprotection.org)
The decisions made by the court on behalf of some of the most vulnerable members of society can be life-changing, and the case law it produces impacts the rights of disabled people far beyond the walls of the court rooms.