Top judge calls for more Court of Protection cases to be made public

Mr Justice Charles wants to increase public understanding of care cases

A leading judge has called for more cases in the Court of Protection to be made public.

Mr Justice Charles, the Judge in Charge of the Court of Protection, said that he wanted to see more of its rulings put in the public domain.

The court, which makes decisions on behalf of those deemed mentally incapable of running their own affairs, has previously been accused of secrecy.

Speaking at the first conference of the Court of Protection Practitioners Association, Sir Charles also warned lawyers that new guidance will be published soon telling judges when and how to publish their rulings.

He said: “There is a need for judgements in the Court of Protection to be more readily available to the public at large, so they can understand - if they want to take the trouble to read them - the process and the care that is taken in reaching decisions on behalf of those who can't reach them for themselves.”

He added: “Soon there will be guidance from the president of the Court of Protection, James Munby, as to the publication of judgements of the court of protection in an anonymised form.”

The Independent has been campaigning for media access to the court since 2009.

The High Court judge said he wanted to see the judiciary ensuring that “more run of the mill” cases can be published and reported, so that the public better understands the court. He said: “It's easy enough to get the big cases out there, the ones that have the major issues. It is to my mind important that the more standard cases are also out there, so that representatives of the media and representatives of the public can, if they wish, see how regular decisions are made by the court of protection”

Speaking later to The Independent, he said: “The world is moving towards having greater access [to the court]. The really difficult part is how you report these sorts of cases. Responsible reporting, I'm of the view, needs to be encouraged He added: ”I have never totally understood why the local authorities don't want these cases reported because it would bring out all the difficulties that they have to face. Their argument is that their shoulders are broad enough and they would rather protect the families. But there hasn't been research into what damage [reporting] does.“

Justice Charles, who has been the Judge in Charge of the Court of Protection since 2011, said deciding cases often came down to weighing up a patient's conflicting emotional and physical needs. ”As a judge you have to consider physical safety and emotional safety because if you take granny away and she is cared for by people that don't love her, that's difficult emotionally and that has to be taken into account. I'd love these cases to be generally known.“

”There's a perception that you're just interfering and removing people from their families but that's so far from the case as to be laughable. It is a last resort.“

Sir Charles said he and other judges were frustrated with media headlines about the courts being 'secret'. ”I think I speak for all of judges of the Court of Protection when references to a secret court are made, they feel this is somewhat unfair and somewhat annoying“, he said, before acknowledging that more work does need to be done to open the courts up to scrutiny.

One of the reasons the court has been accused of secrecy is that if an agreement is reached and no formal judgement is made, no information about the case is put into the public domain. Mr Justice Charles said this was being addressed: ”Work is being done to see how the information can be given relating to decisions made that are not contested, so there will not be a judgement.“

Speaking to the legal audience at the conference, he urged them to help judges put more cases in the public domain: ”I would invite those of you here today to think about this and draw it to the attention of the judges as to what other judgements they deliver should actually be made available in an anonymised form.“

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
books
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Law Costs

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Day In a Page

Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference