Don’t ignore the Vice President’s Practice Guidance when a decision relates to the provision of life-sustaining treatment

GUP v EUP and UCLH NHS Foundation Trust [2024] EWCOP (25 January 2024) 

Cases involving the withdrawal or withholding of life sustaining treatment can be heartrending for all involved, whatever their role.  Such cases will always be uniquely and exceptionally deeply harrowing for P’s family and loved ones.

For any person to become embroiled in conflict with professionals as your loved one is dying must add an unimaginable additional burden to one’s grief.  That burden will be far heavier when that family member is also required to issue court proceedings in order to bring the case before a CoP judge, particularly if having to do so without the benefit of professional advice.  For an inexperienced lay person filing in the necessary COP1 and COP3  and COP24 forms and navigating the procedural labyrinth of making an emergency CoP application, in order to get their case before a judge to be heard, is an enormous challenge.

In this latest serious medical treatment end of life case the Official Solicitor deprecated the family having been left to bring the case to court themselves. The Official Solicitor made an entreaty that all health providers involved in a dispute regarding potentially life prolonging treatment abide by the CoP Practice Guidance [2020] EWCOP 2 and promptly bring the application themselves, rather than leaving unrepresented, inexperienced and often distressed family members (who will frequently not be eligible for public funding) to make their own application.

Click here to read the full blog post by Sophia Roper KC.


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