An update from the Court User Group

The Court of Protetion User Group has published further advice for practitioners following the postponement of the group’s meeting on the 28th April.

The document, signed by Judge Hilder and Amrit Panesar (Court Manager), updates on the activities of the Court during the Coronavirus pandemic. Roughly 70-80 % of Court staff are working remotely, whilst there has been a continuous presence at First Avenue House.

Hearings are continuing during the pandemic and are being conducted remotely. Guidance has been updated on Hearings (see Guidance note 5). Video hearings have been made available at the discretion of the Judge. HMCTS are looking to fast track the implementation of a new platform for video hearings across the Courts service.

In a welcome change to existing protocol, the Court are now accepting COP20A and COP20B forms electronically. The Court have asked that applicants submit all forms together using the email address – [email protected] ensuring that the client name and court ref is in the subject field.

They stipulate that this is only to be used for COP20 forms and no other forms. However, they follow that news with further information about a pilot exercise allowing Court Users to submit COP forms electronically. Nothing is stated about the length of time this service will be available for.

The initial pilot study is due to finish at the end of July and the Court will assess its effectiveness and report back to the User Group. This is a welcome move to see the Court moving into the 21st Century and embracing technology and will make electronic workflows much more integrated into the process.

The document finishes with details of who to contact at the Court should practitioners have ideas or thoughts on how the Court can assist them. Details for ACO Ross Hamilton have been provided – [email protected]