Skype in the Court of Protection – The courts in the time of coronavirus: a personal perspective on the first remote hearing during the crisis
1st April 2020
Mostyn J hears trial concerning withdrawal of life sustaining treatment with five parties and at least 20 participants over Skype for Business (REVISED POST)*
In December 2019, Keehan J presided over a directions hearing in a serious medical treatment application brought by a CCG. A dispute had arisen as to whether or not it was in the best interests of A, a man in his 70s who suffered a stroke in 2016, to continue to receive clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH). A’s daughter believes CANH should be removed; his GP thinks it should stay in place. A is not in a prolonged disorder of consciousness: despite significant impairment, he communicates with those caring for him in gestures and occasional words, and enjoys seeing animals and children, and hearing poetry.
In itself, this would be an unusually difficult and sensitive case for the Court of Protection, and Keehan J listed it for four days, including a day of judicial reading time. As preparation progressed, it became clear that it was going to be a tight timetable. Between them, the five parties (CCG, A, represented by the Official Solicitor, A’s daughter, A’s GP, and the local authority) were calling eleven witnesses to give oral evidence, including three independent expert consultants; all five parties would be making closing submissions; and the evidence available to the court ran to well over 4000 pages. What makes this case even more unusual is that the judge listed it to start on Tuesday 17 March 2020, less than 24 hours after the nation was directed to avoid all non-essential contact to stem the rising tide of Covid19.
Read more about this case on our UK Medical Decision Law Blog.
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