The case concerns the extent of local authorities powers to accommodate children under s. 20 of the Children Act 1989 in the face of objections by the parents. At trial, the judge followed the established authorities that such accommodation required informed consent and awarded damages of £10,000 to each parent for breach of their article 8 rights. The Court of Appeal held that obtaining parental consent was good practice but was not a requirement of the Act. This has caused some confusion in practice and raised questions about the way in which Convention rights could be given effect in the absence of consent. The Supreme Court granted permission to intervene in the case to Coram Children’s Legal Centre, the Association of Lawyers for Children, The Family Rights Group and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Christine has represented the parents throughout the proceedings in the High Court and the Court of Appeal and was led by Deidre Fotrell QC in the Supreme Court.