Public Law Blog

June 6, 2017 Does section 20 of the Children Act require the consent of parents? The Supreme Court is to decide.

On 26 January 2017, the Court of Appeal handed down its decision in London Borough of Hackney v Williams and anor [2017] EWCA Civ 26, departing from a long chain of Family Court judgments highlighting the necessity for local authorities to obtain the informed consent of parents prior to accommodating children under section 20. In a landmark judgment, the Court of Appeal held that although obtaining parental consent was good practice, and that the guidance of the High Court should be followed, the necessity for consent did not have the full force of law and could not found an action in damages under the Human Rights Act.

Permission to appeal was sought by the parents, arguing that this is a case of considerable public importance. The divergence of opinion at High Court and Court of Appeal level has created a lack of clarity as to the status of the earlier established guidance of the Family Court, and is likely to have significant implications for social work practice and the protection of vulnerable children.

May 22, 2017 The role and limited powers of the Court of Protection

Sarah Salmon considers the Supreme Court judgment in N v A Clinical Commissioning Group and others [2017] UKSC 22; [2017] 2 WLR 1011, a case described from the outset to be about the “jurisdiction” of the Court of Protection. It was, in fact, as Lady Hale noted, unfortunate that the case had been put this way: it was about the role of the Court of Protection and the approach that should be taken in light of its limited powers.

May 2, 2017 Alistair Cantor considers MR v SR, a case which serves as a cautious reminder that the general rule that parties bear their own costs in Court of Protection proceedings, can be displaced in cases of unreasonable conduct.

MR v SR (application for costs) [2016] EWCOP 54: CCG suffers costs order in COP proceedings on grounds of unreasonable conduct M, the daughter of N, a 68-year-old female, brought proceedings under s15 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for a declaration that it was not in N’s best interests to continue to receive life-sustaining […]