Court of Protection and coronavirus
See also: Coronavirus resources#Newer resources
- Detailed COP remote hearing protocol. Court of Protection, 'Remote access to the Court of Protection guidance' (Mr Justice Hayden, 31/3/20) — This 20-page document confirms that no COP hearings which require people to attend are to take place unless there is a genuine urgency and it is not possible to conduct a remote hearing. It includes a template case management order, and sets out sets out operational protocols governing remote hearings under the following headings: (1) General; (2) Legislative framework; (3) Judicial access to audio/visual conferencing platforms; (4) video/visual Conferencing: (a) Cloud Video Platform MoJ/HMCTS; (b) Skype for Business; (c) Microsoft Teams; (d) Zoom; (e) FaceTime; (f) Lifesize; (5) Audio/Telephone; (6) Security; (7) Transparency; (8) Transcription/recording of the hearing; (9) GDPR; (10) Attendance of P at the remote hearing; (11) Litigants in Person; (12) Witness Evidence; (13) Electronic Bundles; (14) Use of Interpreters and Intermediaries; (15) Orders and Service; (16) Legal aid funding.
- COP guidance on remote hearings and serious cases. Court of Protection, 'Further Guidance for Judges and Practitioners in the Court of Protection arising from Covid-19' (Mr Justice Hayden, 24/3/20) — (1) The guidance on remote hearings is now: "as from today no hearings which require people to attend are to take place unless there is a genuine urgency and it is not possible to conduct a remote hearing." (emphasis in original) (2) Genuinely urgent and life/death cases will be identified and prioritised in the usual way, but if any difficulty arises the VP's clerk may be emailed.
- HIVE group and 2m separation at court. Court of Protection, 'Dear Colleagues letter' (Mr Justice Hayden, 23/3/20) — The "HIVE" group has been established, the objective being "to continue to refine our approach to dealing with the Court’s business and to seek to ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible". It consists of: The Vice President; The Senior Judge, HHJ Hilder; Sarah Castle, the Official Solicitor; Vikram Sachdeva QC; Lorraine Cavanagh QC; Alex Ruck Keene; Kate Edwards; Mary Macgregor, Office of Public Guardian; Joan Goulbourn, Senior Policy Advisor, Ministry of Justice. All those who attend court should keep 2m separation from others at all times.
- Further COP coronavirus guidance. Court of Protection, 'Additional Guidance for Judges and Practitioners arising from Covid-19' (The Hon Mr Justice Hayden, 18/3/20) — (1) This guidance contains the following key messages (paraphrased): (a) hearings of less than 2 hours will be by telephone, but longer hearings will proceed unless the judge decides otherwise; (b) all practitioners must consider the range of options, including Skype and telephone conferences; (c) if directions hearings cannot be dealt with by agreement then a remote hearing should be sought; (d) every sensible effort to alleviate the pressure on court staff should be made; (e) further use of Skype beyond the current limited circumstances is being considered. (2) The guidance answers various questions in relation to: (a) acceptance of electronic signatures; (b) notification of P; (c) interim appointment of professional deputies; (d) service by email; (e) scanned documents and electronic bundles; (f) capacity assessments undertaken via video. (3) A "Core Working Group (COVID-19)" including judges and representatives of the (legal) profession will be set up to look at ongoing interim solutions.
- COP coronavirus guidance. Court of Protection, 'Visits to P by Judges and Legal Advisors' (The Hon Mr Justice Hayden, 13/3/20) — This guidance from the Vice President of the Court of Protection states that "visits should only be made to P where that is assessed as absolutely necessary", that "[a]lternative arrangements should always be considered first, such as telephone FaceTime and Skype conferencing", and that "[v]isits to care home are to be strongly discouraged" (emphasis in original). Judges should discuss any potential visits with the Regional Lead Judge, and keep informed of the advice on the judicial intranet which is reviewed daily.
- Information about Hive group. Court of Protection, 'Letter about Hive group' (Mr Justice Hayden, 4/5/20) — This letter sets out the aim and constitution of the Hive group, with particular focus on: (1) property and affairs; (2) welfare cases in the context of deprivation of liberty; (3) "community DOL" orders under COP DOL11; (4) transparency. The HIVE mailbox (email@example.com) can be used to raise coronavirus issues which do not relate to specific cases.
- COP update. Court of Protection, 'Court User Group Update' (HHJ Carolyn Hilder and Amrit Panesar, 21/5/20) — This letter to court users deals with the court's performance and activities during the coronavirus outbreak and some of the work being done to assist practitioners, under the headings: (1) Hearings; (2) Filing of form COP20s; (3) Electronic filing of P & A deputy applications; (4) Performance.