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(Family Division, Keehan J, 8 March 2017)
Public law children – Deprivation of liberty – 15-year-old detained in secure residential unit – Whether authorisation of the High Court was necessary – Gillick competence and consent
The 15-year-old boy was found to be Gillick competent and to consent to his detainment at the secure residential unit.
The 15-year-old boy had lived in local authority care since 2007. Due to his increasingly difficult behaviours he moved to a specialist residential unit with high levels of supervision. The restrictions imposed included him never being left alone or alone with other residents, the external doors were locked at night, bedroom doors were alarmed at night and he could not leave the unit unsupervised.
The local authority sought leave under s 100(3) of the Children Act 1989 to make an application under the inherent jurisdiction for the authorisation of the young man’s detention at the residential unit. The children’s guardian asserted that there was no need to exercise the inherent jurisdiction since he was Gillick competent and had consented to confinement.
There was no issue between the local authority and the Official Solicitor that whatever legal framework used to authorise the young man’s detainment, it was proportionate and in his best interests.It was clear from the restrictions imposed on the young man that he was being deprived of his liberty. On the totality of the evidence he was also Gillick competent and was capable in law of consenting to his detainment. The court was satisfied that he had consented to his confinement. There was no need to exercise the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court.