- Authorisation of deprivation of liberty of a child declined where placement unsuitable and no alternative available (Wigan Metropolitan Council v W and others)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Local Government analysis: The court held that it was not in the best interests of a 12-year old looked after child to be detained on a hospital ward in circumstances where there was no clinical need for him to be in hospital and his challenging behaviour required a high level of physical and chemical restraint, and infringement of his privacy, to ensure safety. The sole justification advanced by the local authority for the child remaining there was the lack of an alternative suitable therapeutic or residential placement. The court declined to authorise the deprivation of liberty as being in the child’s best interests and considered whether the child’s circumstances breached Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). This is one in a series of cases where the courts have expressed dismay at the paucity of suitable provision for children who pose risk of harm to themselves and others. Written by Siân Davies, barrister at 39 Essex Chambers.
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