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|A Local Authority v AT and FE (2017) EWHC 2458 (Fam)||Child, no approved secure accommodation available, deprivation of liberty||"Section 25 of the Children Act 1989 makes express and detailed provision for the making of what are known as secure accommodation orders. Such orders may be made and, indeed, frequently are made by courts, including courts composed of lay magistrates. It is not necessary to apply to the High Court for a secure accommodation order. However, as no approved secure accommodation was available, the local authority required the authorisation of a court for the inevitable deprivation of liberty of the child which would be involved. It appears that currently such authorisation can only be given by the High Court in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction. ... I am increasingly concerned that the device of resort to the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court is operating to by-pass the important safeguard under the regulations of approval by the Secretary of State of establishments used as secure accommodation. ... In my own experience it is most unusual that a secure accommodation order could be made without the attendance of the child if of sufficient age and if he wished to attend, and without the child being properly legally represented. It is true, as Mr Flood says, that this is not an application for a secure accommodation order, but the analogy is a very close one. Indeed, the only reason why a secure accommodation order is not being applied for is because an approved secure accommodation unit is not available. It seems to me, therefore, that the statutory safeguards within section 25 should not be outflanked or sidestepped simply because a local authority have been forced, due to lack of available resources, to apply for the exercise of the inherent jurisdiction of this court rather than the statutory order. ... I propose to order that the child now be joined as a party to these proceedings and Cafcass must forthwith allocate a guardian to act on his behalf. ... In my view it is very important that ordinarily in these situations, which in plain language involve a child being 'locked up', the child concerned should, if he wishes, have an opportunity to attend a court hearing. The exception to that is clearly if the child is so troubled that it would be damaging to his health, wellbeing or emotional stability to do so."|
|A Local Authority v BF (2018) EWCA Civ 2962||Inherent jurisdiction to authorise DOL of vulnerable adult||An interim order made on 10/12/18 required BF to reside at a care home, over Christmas, and not at his own or his son's home, despite BF's having capacity to make decisions about his residence and wanting to return home. The order was expressed to last until a further hearing to take place no later than 31/1/19 (later fixed for 16/1/19) when the judge could hear full argument on what relief could be granted pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction. The local authority appealed on the basis that the order infringed Article 5. The appeal was dismissed: (1) BF is a vulnerable adult (old, blind, infirm, in a squalid and dangerous home, with undue influence present in relationship with son) who needs protection despite not lacking capacity. (2) The test of "unsound mind" is different from the test of capacity, and there is prima facie evidence that he may be of unsound mind. (3) In an emergency situation, someone may be deprived of their liberty in the absence of evidence of mental disorder without infringing Article 5 (Winterwerp); even if BF is found not to be of unsound mind, his vulnerability is such that he could not be returned home without careful planning, which is a crucial component of the protection afforded by the inherent jurisdiction. [This is a surprising decision on both the "unsoundness of mind" and "emergency situation" fronts. This permission judgment of 21/12/18 was published on 21/1/19; presumably the full judgment from the 10/12/18 and 16/1/19 hearings will be published soon.]|
|P v A Local Authority (2015) EWCOP 89||Discharge from DOLS||"This is an application by P (the Applicant) acting through his litigation friend, the Official Solicitor, for an order under section 21A of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) discharging the standard authorisation made on 24 June 2015 which authorises a deprivation of liberty in his current accommodation (the placement)."|
|Re FX (2017) EWCOP 36||Capacity - residence, care, contact and finances||"I am concerned with capacity issues in respect of FX. The proceedings are brought by FX through his litigation friend the Official Solicitor. ... The proceedings commenced by application dated 16 September 2016 as a challenge to a standard authorisation which authorised the deprivation of FX's liberty at Care Home A. ... During the course of these proceedings FX has asserted that he has capacity to make decisions in respect of residence, care, contact and finances. ... It is not argued by any party that he lacks capacity in respect of contact. There is no dispute that FX lacks capacity to litigate these proceedings. ... FX is 32 years of age. He has a diagnosis of Prader-Willi Syndrome PWS. ... I am satisfied that FX has capacity to make the relevant decisions in respect of residence and care [and finances: paras 41 and 47] as are required at this time. Should a situation arise where there are complex decisions to be made it may be necessary to reconsider issues of capacity in light of those decisions."|
|Re HC (A Minor: Deprivation of Liberty) (2018) EWHC 2961 (Fam)||DOL of child||"HC has just turned 13 years of age. I shall refer to his parents in this judgment as, respectively, M and F, and to his brother as B. HC currently lives in a residential unit in Yorkshire ("the unit"). By application dated 18th July 2018, the local authority responsible for HC's placement asks that the court determine whether HC's placement constitutes a deprivation of his liberty and, if this question is answered in the affirmative, for authorisation, by way of declaratory relief pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction. ... Although the LA brings the application, it does not assert a position one way or the other in relation to whether HC's placement at the unit constitutes a deprivation of his liberty. Exploring this rather unusual position with Ms Shaikh, I was told that the LA sought only to present the facts to the court and to leave it to me to adjudge whether the particular regime and its inherent restrictions constitutes a deprivation of liberty. In the event that I do so find, the LA seeks authorisation of the deprivation as being necessary and proportionate."|
|Re P (Sexual Relations and Contraception): A Local Authority v P (2018) EWCOP 10||Sex and covert contraception||"This judgment in long-running proceedings involving a vulnerable young woman, hereafter referred to as 'P', addresses difficult issues concerning her sexual relationships and the covert insertion of a contraceptive device. ... I shall address these issues in the following order: (1) Capacity - general principles. (2) P's capacity other than sexual relations. (3) P's capacity to consent to sexual relations. (4) Best interests: general principles. (5) Best interests: contraception. (6) Best interests: covert treatment (6) Best interests: sexual relationships and supervision. (7) Further issues arising from the draft order." ... Given the serious infringement of rights involved in the covert insertion of a contraceptive device, it is in my judgement highly probable that, in most, if not all, cases, professionals faced with a decision whether to take that step will conclude that it is appropriate to apply to the court to facilitate a comprehensive analysis of best interests, with P having the benefit of legal representation and independent expert advice.|
|SR v A Local Authority (2018) EWCOP 36||"At the hearing on 9th April 2018, A Local Authority applied orally for orders restricting SR's contact with her husband JR. A Local Authority sought orders preventing JR from taking SR out of the care home unless accompanied by a member of staff or a relative in the light of concerns on the part of A Local Authority about JR's expressed views in relation to euthanasia and other comments made by him from time to time. ... Whilst I accept that JR's comments have given rise to legitimate anxiety on the part of the professionals, I do not consider that there was adequate investigation into the reasons why JR has made such comments and what he understands by the notion of supporting euthanasia, which from his evidence related to the right to self-determination and dignity. ... However, he was consistent that he would never dream of hurting his wife. Is it safe for the court to take that assertion at face value in the light of his expressed views and comments, some of which have been unpalatable? I take note of the fact that following the first comments in August 2016, SR returned home to live with JR until 9th November 2016. Between 9th November 2016 and 27th May 2017, extensive unsupervised contact took place within the care home and outside the care home. To date, JR remains alone with SR for approximately two hours per evening in a closed room. SR has remained safe and subject of devoted affection and attention from her husband. I have reached the conclusion that the restriction sought by A Local Authority is neither justifiable, proportionate or necessary."|