JUSTICE MINISTER DEMANDS REVIEW OF SECRET COURTS - Justice Minister, Chris Grayling, it to make an urgent review of the secret courts and of what is viewed by many as an attack on the public’s civil liberties.
The court, under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, set up by the last Labour Government, gives it the power to imprison or apply orders to those people it deems ‘unfit’ to administer their own affairs.
Under the legislation there are a number of opening principles that are designed to protect the rights of the individual, such as, ‘a person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that he lacks capacity.’
As with any legislation it is always open to interpretation and recently there has been a worrying trend that judges are interpreting the law that conflicts with people’s human rights.
What Chris Grayling is seeking is to make the Court of Protection more transparent and open to public review; the underlining principle in English Law is that ‘the law must not only be done, it must be seen to be done’ and on this principle alone there should be no room in the United Kingdom for any type of ‘secret’ court.
The Mental Capacity Act has come under attack before with many viewing the act as nothing less than providing the state with draconian or inquisition powers where it allows the court to intervene in peoples live and deem them unfit or incapable to controlling their own affairs.
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A rather unsettling account was uncovered recently by the Daily Mail (read full story) where one woman was jailed in secret for ‘contempt of court’ after trying to remove her father from a care home where she, and her family, believed was the victim of abuse and in peril. During the court hearing, where the woman, Wanda Maddocks, 50, was not even present or represented by legal counsel, was convicted of ‘contempt’ and sentenced to 5 months.
The revelation of this case has promoted a number of MPs to question the powers of the Court of Protection and initiate a review of the system.
According to reports Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, has written to Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division of the High Court, asking for a review of the Family Courts and consider the procedures of the Court of Protection.
More information on this news, see Daily Mail
Do you think it is appropriate for the UK to have ‘secret courts’? Have your say… leave your comments below.