The Transparency Pilot that we have covered previously is now finalised and will be starting on 29 January (NB, this means that the first pilot order can be made on 29 January providing for a hearing to be held in public subject to reporting restrictions, not that the first hearing will necessarily be on that date). The Practice Direction and the standard “pilot” order can be found here, and the – helpful – guidance note for the judiciary written by the Vice-President of the Court of Protection can be found here.
The Pilot will be running for 6 months. It is very important that practitioners understand that if they wish their case to proceed in private, it is necessary to apply at the earliest possible opportunity and before any pilot order is made – if they apply after the order has been made, then it will be necessary to give notice of any application to vary the order to the national media by using the Press Association’s Injunctions Alert service (formerly known as CoPyDirect).
As the Vice-President, Charles J, notes in his guidance note, the aim of the pilot is to effectively reverse the existing default position of private hearings. This means that there will have to be a good reason for not making an order that an attended hearing is to be in public including an anonymity order in terms of or based on the standard order.