Birkbeck, University of London: Researchers Create Highly Valuable Resource To Meet Needs Of Specialist Lawyers

Following the success of a previous training film about communication and participation for Court of Protection lawyers, a project team including researchers based at the Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research (ICPR), at Birkbeck’s School of Law, have developed a second training film for specialist lawyers as part of the Judging Values and Participation in Mental Capacity Law project, which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The second training film, ‘Making Values Matter in the Court of Protection’ is now available to watch on YouTube, and aims to improve Court of Protection lawyers’ and judges’ understanding of the meaning and role of values in decision making. The film also aims to increase lawyers’ knowledge about how to identify values and incorporate them into decision making; and demonstrate examples of good practice when lawyers communicate with a person and their family to explore and discuss their values.

Professor Jessica Jacobson, Director of ICPR, commented: “ICPR warmly welcomes the launch of this second film. By tackling the complex – and rarely acknowledged – issue of the role of values in the Court of Protection, it will undoubtedly support improved and more reflective practice on the part of lawyers, judges and other professionals working in this field.”

The creation of this second, highly valuable resource for specialist lawyers was enabled through a Research England Policy Support Fund grant at the University of Bristol, and co-produced with the leading charity, VoiceAbility, which provides advocacy for people with a learning disability and/or autism.

The film features an interview with a person with learning disability, about their values and a follow-up discussion with that person’s relative. A VoiceAbility leader and her father were central to the filmed demonstration, which also includes commentary, discussion and reflections on the law and practice from Senior Research Fellow, Dr Camillia Kong, and three specialist Court of Protection lawyers (one from law firm Irwin Mitchell and two from 39 Essex Chambers). Designed to be watched from start to finish, the video can also be used as an interactive professional development resource to promote discussion and reflection amongst groups of practitioners as part of their professional development.