Secure accommodation orders
Secure accommodation orders

The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Secure accommodation orders
  • Definition of secure accommodation
  • Availability of suitable secure accommodation
  • Children who can be placed
  • Secure accommodation without a court order
  • Secure accommodation—applying to the court
  • Social work statement
  • Criteria
  • Human rights
  • Procedure including the child’s attendance
  • More...

Secure accommodation orders

Section 25 of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989) (in England) and section 119 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (SSW(W)A 2014) (in Wales) restrict the ability of local authorities to place and keep children in secure accommodation. Secure accommodation orders are compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The key regulations are the Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/1505 (in England) and the Children (Secure Accommodation) (Wales) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/1988 (in Wales). This Practice Note is primarily concerned with secure accommodation orders made under the statutory scheme, but also considers the ‘mirror procedure’ under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court which has arisen as a result of the lack of secure accommodation places.

In Barking and Dagenham London Borough v SS, Hayden J said in relation to secure accommodation orders (at para [15]):

'It scarcely needs to be said that restricting the liberty of a child is an extremely serious step, especially where the child has not committed any criminal offence, nor is alleged to have committed any criminal offence…The use of s 25 will very rarely be appropriate and it must always remain a measure of last resort. By this I mean not merely that the conventional options for a child in care must have been exhausted but so too must the "unconventional", i.e. the

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