Special court 'should be more open'

The Oxford Times: The Court of Protection is part of the High Court The Court of Protection is part of the High Court

The most senior family judge in England and Wales has said that a specialist court which deals with issues relating to sick and vulnerable people must be transparent.

Sir James Munby said there was a "pressing need" for the Court of Protection - which is part of the High Court - to operate in an open fashion.

His comments came in a written ruling on a Court of Protection case published on a legal website following a hearing in London.

Sir James, President of the Family Division of the High Court and of the Court of Protection, had been asked to make decisions relating to the welfare of an elderly woman - who has links to England and Scotland.

The litigation is continuing. The latest round related to whether arguments should be aired in English or Scottish courts.

He said he had decided to make his rulings on the case public and added: "That is indicated not just by what in my view is the pressing need for the Court of Protection to operate and be seen to operate in an open and transparent fashion but also because, as it happens, the judgment deals with certain questions of law of general importance."

Sir James said the woman at the centre of the case should not be identified.

Members of the public are usually barred from Court of Protection hearings - although journalists can attend. Judgments are usually published - although parties involved are not normally named.

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