A pilot scheme allowing greater access to the Court of Protection is due to begin next year.
A specialist court which makes rulings on behalf of people unable to make their own decisions, most hearings in the Court of Protection are currently held in private, with only those directly involved able to attend.
Under the new scheme however, the default will switch, with most hearings held in public. The identity of the participants will be protected by court order.
Court listings will also be changed, to provide a brief summary of each case, in order to help the media and public decided whether to attend.
Data from the pilot scheme will be used to assess whether or not to make the change permanent.
Family Division President Sir James Munby explained the change:
“For the last six years accredited media have been able to attend Family Court cases and have been better informed about the work of the Family Court as a result. It is logical to look at extending this greater transparency to the Court of Protection, provided the right balance can be struck to safeguard the privacy of people who lack capacity to make their own decisions.”
Photo of the Royal Courts of Justice by Nick Garrod