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What Next for Deprivation of Liberty

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Mark Twomey QC and Alex Laing recently acted for a young person in T (A Child) [2018] EWCA Civ 2136, a case dealing with the inherent jurisdiction of the Court to authorise deprivation of a child’s liberty.

In short, a deprivation of liberty case deals with an application being made to place a child in secure accommodation outside of Parliament’s statutory scheme (para 5). These cases are of concern to the Court, “not so much because of the pressure that this places on the court system, or the fact that local authorities have to engage in a more costly court process; the concern is that young people are being placed in units which, by definition, have not been approved as secure placements by the Secretary of State when that approval has been stipulated as a pre-condition by Parliament” (para 6).

In this particular case, the young person was competent and consented to the proposed care regime, even though it significantly restricted their liberty in a manner that would otherwise require an order if the placement had been in a registered secure accommodation. The issue on appeal was around the quality and duration of this consent.

The Court of Appeal handed down its judgment for this matter on 4 October, and Alex Laing has written a summary of it for Family Law Week. To read this case summary, visit: http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed193008

Since issuing the judgment, McFarlane P has sent it to the Secretary of State for Education, the Secretary of State for Justice, the Chair of the Education Select Committee, the Chair of the Justice Select Committee, the Welsh Government and the Commissioner for Children.

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