Peter Mant appeared last week in a three day trial conducted entirely over Skype, in what the Law Society Gazette described as a “legal first”.
The case was legally and factually complex, concerning whether it was in the best interests of a man in his 70s who suffered a catastrophic stroke to continue to receive clinically assisted hydration and nutrition (CANH). Peter acted for the man’s daughter who argued that continuation of CANH was not in her father’s best interests because it was contrary to his expressed wishes and not what he would have wanted if he had capacity to make the decision for himself.
There were five parties, ten witnesses and three expert witnesses. Most of the participants dialled in to the hearing from home. The judge allowed short breaks after questioning of witnesses so that counsel could take instructions by email or on their mobile phones. There were very few technical problems and the trial proceeded remarkably smoothly. This case is an important example of how access to justice can continue to be realised in these difficult times, even in the most complex of cases.
Judgment is expected in the next few weeks.
See full report of the hearing in the Law Society Gazette here