To develop guidance (aimed at solicitors, hospitals, courts and parents) on applications for orders in relation to medical treatment of children.
Melanie Carew (Chair)
Terms of Reference
The FJC had in its business plan a working group on medical mediation which was originally intended to work with a number of other agencies to develop a protocol for improved access to mediation in medical treatment cases. It remained dormant for some time and it became clear that there would be a need for those outside bodies to commit resources which they may not currently have available to help support work on this issue.
The FJC agreed to amend the scope of the medical mediation working group to one that develops guidance (aimed at solicitors, hospitals, courts and parents) on applications for orders in relation to medical treatment of children. These applications are small in number but have a huge impact on the families involved, as well as the professionals. They are often very resource intensive and attract significant media attention. It is in the interests of all those involved that information about how they are case managed should be consistent and in compliance with the Family Procedure Rules.
The WG will consider the following in any guidance:
- Clarity to the parties and the families on the correct procedure in terms of identifying the right parties/ the rules on service/ participation of the child
- The commissioning of second opinion medical reports and clarifying the rules on how these are obtained. This dovetails with work being undertaken by the Royal College on the same subject which will hopefully inform the proposed guidance
- To provide guidance on the appropriate time and opportunity for medical mediation: when it might be offered, who provides it, who pays for it, and how to access it
- To provide guidance on case management in end of life cases including who can attend hearings, how to manage publicity applications
- To provide information about the availability or otherwise of legal aid
- Any other matters which the working group identify eg the meaning of parental responsibility with respect to consent to treatment and the case management of out of hours hearings
- To review and highlight the relevant parts of the Family Procedure Rules, specifically drawing attention to those parts which differ from the rules governing CoP
- To draw on the work being undertaken by the Royal College in relation to 2nd opinions
- To consult the Medical Mediation Foundation about what information could be included about their service (and potentially others)
- Look at previous judgments in which good practice by Applicant Trusts has been identified