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Published On: April 7, 2020 | Blog | 0 comments

The Court of Protection continues in the face of COVID-19

The Court of Protection exists to protect some of the most vulnerable members of our society who lack the requisite capacity to make decisions for themselves. It often has to deal with extremely sensitive and urgent cases that cannot be delayed without having far reaching consequences.

Such a case arose a few weeks ago in the Court of Protection when Mr Justice Mostyn was asked to decide the very sensitive question of whether or not it was in the Protected Party’s (“P”) best interests to withdraw his life sustaining treatment. P was in his 70’s and had suffered a stroke in 2016. His daughter thought that his feeding tube should be removed, however P’s GP thought that it should stay in place. The Court was therefore asked to determine the best course of action.

In light of the coronavirus outbreak, Mr. Justice Mostyn declared that in the interests of all party’s health it was “unthinkable” that the hearing should go ahead in person, however viewed it was imperative that the hearing went ahead as planned, albeit remotely.

As such, the first Court of Protection Skype hearing was orchestrated over a three-day period and attended online by the Judge, 11 witnesses, 6 lawyers, 3 experts and 2 journalists. This allowed Mr. Justice Mostyn to hand down his judgment on 27 March 2020 that it was in P’s best interests to continue to receive life sustaining treatment.

As well as the judgment being crucial to protect P’s best interests, this case reassures us that the Court of Protection continues to function and adapt in these unprecedented times.

On the ground, our Court of Protection team at Anthony Gold also continue to work as usual in our client’s best interests being creative, flexible and taking advantage of the technology and options available such as electronic signatures, applications and considering the virtue of remote capacity assessments and remote hearings where appropriate.

*Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

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