Judiciary in the dock: Lords quiz judges on Mental Capacity Act

22 November 2013


Four senior judges, including the Judge in Charge of the Court of Protection, will be questioned by the Lords Committee investigating the Mental Capacity Act 2005 on Tuesday 26 November

The Court of Protection makes decisions about the health, personal welfare, property and affairs of people who lack capacity to make such decisions for themselves, either due to a learning disability, dementia, or an acquired brain injury. It has ruled on cases of serious medical treatment, such as sterilisation, treatment for cancer and termination of pregnancy, as well as on consent to sexual relations, and decisions on accommodation.

The Court has been in the spotlight recently due to a national newspaper’s campaign to make the Court’s proceedings more transparent by giving access to the press – a call that is backed by the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby. 

At 10.20am, the Committee will have the opportunity to question:

  • Mr Justice Charles, Judge in Charge of the Court of Protection;
  • Denzil Lush, Senior Judge of the Court of Protection;
  • District Judge Margaret Glentworth; and
  • District Judge Elizabeth Batten.

The Committee will explore with the witnesses whether the structure and mandate of the Court, as established in the Act, are appropriate; whether the right sorts of decisions are being brought to the Court for adjudication; whether it would be helpful to have a definition of a deprivation of liberty; what specialist resources the Court can call on when determining capacity; and what the Court is doing to make its proceedings more accessible.

The evidence sessions will take place at 10.20 am on Tuesday 26 November in Committee Room 2 of the House of Lords.

The session will be webcast at www.parliamentlive.tv and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament’s Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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