Court of Protection opens up

Following an application by various newspapers and the BBC, a judge has ruled that the media were allowed to report on “a deprivation of liberty order” issued by Hillingdon Borough Council actually unlawfully deprived a vulnerable person of their liberty.
The Court of Protection which deals with people deemed to be ‘vulnerable’ such a those with various forms of impairment or at risk, is normally a closed affair but has seen its doors slightly open on recent occasions such as in this case where it is alleged that the council had kept an autistic man in care (and unlawfully deprived him of his liberty) through obtaining a court order when, as was claimed, it should in fact have returned him to the care of his father at home.

The judge, Mr Justice Jackson had earlier in the year allowed the media to attend the hearing and to identify the parties concerned. His further ruling means that the media can also, on this occasion, report on the facts.

While this is a step forward and certainly good in terms of allowing for scrutiny of the council’s actions in what is surely a matter of sufficient public interest – when a council may deprive someone of their liberty – it does not unconditionally open the court up and whether and the extent to which the media get to report on other cases will depend on their particular facts and interests involved.

More on the case and facts from PA/Press Gazette

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