Accommodating children under section 20—best practice
Produced in partnership with Ruth Cabeza of Field Court Chambers
Accommodating children under section 20—best practice

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with Ruth Cabeza of Field Court Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Accommodating children under section 20—best practice
  • Parental Consent is not a requirement for accommodation under section 20
  • Delegated Parental Responsibility v Consent?
  • Section 20 agreements
  • Delay
  • Claim for unlawful accommodation

Please note the information in this Practice Note relates to the current law in England. The law in Wales in this area is covered by the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and the related statutory instruments.

Parental Consent is not a requirement for accommodation under section 20

In the final chapter of the trilogy of London Borough of Hackney v Williams the Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, confirming that the application for damages under the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998) should have been dismissed, albeit for reasons which are rather different from those of the Court of Appeal. Lady Hale handed down the lead judgment with which all the Supreme Court Justices Agreed. Her judgment thoroughly reviews previous guidance and at paragraphs [38]–[52] sets out a comprehensive and accessible explanation of the framework, meaning and effect of the various provisions within section 20 of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989). In summary the evolution of this interesting case is:

  1. the first instance decision found that the absence of fully informed parental consent to the accommodation rendered it unlawful once the police protection expired and this in itself gave rise to a claim for damages under the HRA 1998

  2. the Court of Appeal found that parental consent was not