Neutral Citation Number:  EWCOP 10
Case No. 12410651
IN THE COURT OF PROTECTION
SITTING AT MANCHESTER Civil Justice Centre
1 Bridge Street
18th June 2014
B e f o r e :
THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE HOLMAN
Sitting as a judge of the Court of Protection Sitting in public
LIVERPOOL CITY COUNCIL
SG (By her litigation friends and parents, J and S G)
Transcribed from the Official Tape Recording by Apple Transcription Limited Suite 104, Kingfisher Business Centre, Burnley Road, Rawtenstall, Lancashire BB4 8ES Telephone: 0845 604 5642 – Fax: 01706 870838
Counsel for the Applicants: MR ADAM FULLWOOD
Counsel for the Respondent: MR SIMON BURROWS
Counsel for the Official Solicitor: MR CONRAD HALLIN
MR JUSTICE HOLMAN
I have heard this case in public and now give this judgment in public. I direct that no report of this case in the media or elsewhere may name the patient, nor her parents, nor the address at which she or they reside.
This case raises the following question:
Does the Court of Protection have power to make an order which authorises that a person who is not a child (ie who has attained the age of 18) may be deprived of his liberty in premises which are a children's home as defined in section 1(2) of the Care Standards Act 2000 and are subject to the Children's Homes Regulations 2001 (as amended)?
Both parties and their counsel in these proceedings submit that the answer is "yes". I agree with them that the answer is "yes".
I wish to stress at once the scope of that question which I have precisely drafted. This judgment and my answer to the question applies only in the case of a person who is not a child, that is, who has attained the age of 18. This judgment says nothing at all in relation to a person who has not attained the age of 18, and in particular to persons between the ages of 16 and 18. Further, this judgment is only concerned with a person in a children's home, and says nothing at all with regard to a person who may be detained in a residential school.
I also wish to emphasise that both parties and their counsel who are before me in this case are agreed upon the answer to that question and the reasons for the answer. In other words, I have not heard any argument or submissions to the contrary. If, in some other case, on a future date, some party wishes to argue to the contrary, then of course that limitation or reservation upon the value of this ex tempore judgment as a precedent may be noted.
The reason why the question has been posed appears to derive from two relatively recent developments. The first development is the recent decision of the Supreme Court in the Cheshire West
case. The explanation given in that case by Baroness Hale of Richmond as to the scope or breadth of the concept of a deprivation of liberty has led to a concern that a significant number of people are, or may be, being deprived of their liberty who were not previously thought to have been. As is well known, this has led to a very large number of applications to the Court of Protection in order to seek authorisations for the deprivation of liberty.
The second development is a document headed "Deprivation of Liberty – Guidance for Providers of Children's Homes and Residential Special Schools" dated 12th February 2014 and issued jointly by the President of the Court of Protection and the National Director Social Care OFSTED. It appears that as a result of that guidance document there has been, or is, uncertainty on the part of many lawyers and providers in this field as to the scope or extent of any power of the Court of Protection to authorise, when appropriate, the deprivation of liberty of certain categories of person who are accommodated in children's homes or residential special schools. As the above defined question indicates, that concern has arisen in the present case, but I know that it is much more widespread as a result of the circumstances which I now describe.
On 5th and 6th June 2014 there was a hearing before the President of the Court of Protection in London. Some of the counsel who appear before me in this case today were also engaged at that hearing. I understand that that hearing involved at least six different local authorities and, astonishingly, around 15 advocates. I understand that it concerned a number of issues of general public importance in relation to children or young persons in this broad context. The President reserved, and as of today has not yet delivered, his judgment.
But in the course of that hearing there was some reference to the forthcoming hearing today in the present case. One of the counsel appearing before The President, Ms Natalia Perrett, made reference to the present case. At page 65, line 69, of the verbatim transcript of that hearing she said:
"Although… I am acting on second hand information here… it is my understanding that a similar issue has been listed before Holman J."
The President responded:
"That is right and Holman J raised with me, it having been suggested to him by counsel involved in the case that he should do so, the question of whether that matter should be swept up in this and I said no, it should not, because I was not dealing with substantive issues of that sort, and that matter, as I understand it, being heard by Holman J on 18th June…"
A little further on in the transcript at pages 66 and 67 the President of the Court of Protection, saying that he was "merely thinking aloud", suggested that it may be that a sensible way forward would be for advocates in the cases before him to send to me copies of written submissions that I could take into account. In a passage at the top of page 67 the President said:
"…It may be that, subject to Holman J's approval, the way to participate would be to put in written submissions. There is a whole range of ways in which to participate but I think the practical way forward is for you to discuss that and try to come to some sensible solution. I am sure that… if you and the others involved come up with an agreed solution which does not affect the overall timescale and does not imperil the hearing… Holman J would be content to go along with it."
In that short passage I would wish to stress the reference by the President himself to not affecting the overall timescale, viz. of the present case, and not imperilling the hearing of the present case.
Ms Perrett then made reference to counsel for the Secretary of State for Education who was apparently also before the President that day. His counsel, namely, Ms Joanne Clement, then said:
"I am also instructed today on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education in the light of the issue that has been raised by Ms Perrett. This morning was the first I had heard about the hearing before Holman J. It may be of assistance to all concerned if the Secretary of State is provided with information about that hearing, and then can consider whether he wishes to intervene in it…"
The exchanges culminated in the President saying that:
"…It would not be appropriate for me to be giving directions in relation to a case which is currently listed before another judge for a very early hearing."
Following on from those exchanges with the President of the Court of Protection there have been the following developments. Ms Perrett did indeed send an email to me late on Monday, 16th June 2014, in which she referred to her case, namely, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council v S, S & P
(Case number 12498686), and referred to the suggestion the President had made that she might send me some form of written submissions. She attached the skeleton argument which she had prepared for the hearing before the President himself on 5th and 6th June 2014. Her email included the following:
"If the matter [viz. the present case] does not proceed for any reason on 18th June, then Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council would request that Mr Justice Holman give consideration as to whether the BMBC matter should be joined with his current case with respect to this point of law. Of course, I am only able to provide the position of Barnsley on this issue, P's parents have been served with the papers but I do not have their position on these issues, nor has P been joined yet."
Quite separately, the Official Solicitor, who is the litigation friend for the patient in another unrelated case, namely, Westminster City Council v NJ & YJ and HGL
(Case no: 12382069), issued an application in the Court of Protection dated yesterday, 17th June 2014. That application is entitled In the Case of N J, but seeks:
"An order pursuant to the court's powers under rule 25(2)(f) of the Court of Protection Rules 2007:
(i)Consolidating the cases of Liverpool CC v SG (Case No 12410651) [viz. the present case] and WCC v NJ & YJ & HGL (Case no: 12382069);
(ii)If the above order is made, an order that the court's consideration of whether the court is permitted to authorise a deprivation of a person's liberty at a residential school is adjourned to allow all parties sufficient time to make submissions on this point in advance of a further hearing."
It may be that the Official Solicitor himself was engaged in some capacity or other at the hearing before the President on 5th and 6th June 2014. But in any event his counsel on the application that he has now issued for consolidation is Mr Conrad Hallin, who was one of the many counsel appearing before the President at that hearing, so of course Mr Hallin learned at that hearing, if not before, of the existence of the present case and the hearing fixed for today. Mr Hallin indeed appears before me today, instructed by the Official Solicitor to make and develop that application as described in the formal application notice that was issued yesterday.
So those two cases, namely, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council v S, S & P
and Westminster City Council v NJ & YJ & HGL
both illustrate the wider concern around the present broad topic. Further, and as foreshadowed in the observations of Ms Clement to the President which I have quoted at paragraph 10 above, there has been a recent flurry of communications between counsel in the present case and Kevin Brooks, a lawyer in the office of the Treasury Solicitor, and myself. The upshot of those communications was that I authorised that both counsel in the present case could send to Mr Brooks on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education their respective skeleton arguments in the present case.
I, myself, said in an email to Mr Brooks late last week:
"I can only suggest that if the case [viz. the present case] does or may concern the Secretary of State for Education he is represented at the hearing next Wednesday. We can then consider, when I know rather more about it, whether the Secretary of State should be permitted to intervene and the scope of any disclosure. If that has the effect that the substantive hearing is then adjourned, then so be it."
I wish to stress that I sent that email at a time when I knew virtually nothing at all about the present case or the issues raised in it. I had no idea then, nor indeed until this morning, as to the extent of dispute between the parties themselves to the present proceedings; but as can be seen from that passage from my email, I was entirely open (as I remained until this morning) to adjourning the present hearing and enlarging the parties to it if appropriate to do so.
I should say that when I arrived at court this morning I was quite expecting that the Treasury Solicitor might be present and represented, making some application to participate in the present case and for an adjournment of it. However, when I arrived at court this morning I saw for the first time the skeleton argument of Mr Simon Burrows, who acts as counsel on behalf of the parents and litigation friends of the patient in this case, and saw, therefore, that in fact there was complete consensus between both parties and their counsel in the present proceedings.
I also saw for the first time a further email dated 17th June 2014 from Mr Brooks of the Treasury Solicitor which it is, appropriate that I should read into this judgment. He wrote with reference to the hearing today, 18th June, in the present case:
"I am instructed on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education in a number of cases which raise the issue as to whether children [I emphasise there the word "children"] who are resident in non-secure children's homes or residential special schools are being deprived of their liberty in such settings following the decision of the Supreme Court in Cheshire West & Chester Council v P. If they are being deprived of their liberty, that in turn raises further issues as to how any such deprivation of liberty is to be authorised. This involves a careful consideration of the terms of the Children's Homes Regulations 2001, the Education (Non-Maintained Special Schools) (England) Regulations 2011, and the National Minimum Standards for Children's Homes and Residential Special Schools. For children over the age of 16, it may also raise issues as to the terms of the joint guidance published by OFSTED and the President of the Court of Protection in February 2014.
These issues potentially affect a large number of children and young people who lack capacity but who currently reside in non-secure children's homes or residential special schools. By way of example only, as at 31st March 2014, there were more than 6,500 over 16 year olds residing in care homes, children's homes or residential special schools. The Secretary of State has not yet been able to determine the proportion of those 6,500 odd young people who may lack capacity.
The Secretary of State was made aware of the case of Liverpool City Council v SG which, it was said, was a case that could raise similar issues. I understand that this case is to be heard before Mr Justice Holman tomorrow, on Wednesday, 18th June. The judge kindly granted permission for the parties to disclose copies of their skeleton arguments to the Secretary of State so that my client could consider whether he wished to intervene in this case. The skeleton argument on behalf of the local authority was provided on Thursday, 12th June, and the skeleton for P was provided to the Secretary of State yesterday, on Monday, 16th June 2014.
My client has now reviewed those skeleton arguments. The Secretary of State understands that it is common ground in this case that the Children's Homes Regulations 2001 and the National Minimum Standards for Children's Homes do not apply to P, as she is no longer a child, being more than 18 years of age. It is also common ground between the parties that the Court of Protection therefore has jurisdiction to authorise P's deprivation of liberty in her current placement.
In light of this, and the further common ground that it is in P's best interests to continue residing in her present placement, the Secretary of State does not intend to apply to intervene in the present case. However, he reserves the right to make submissions on the correct interpretation of the regulations and the National Minimum Standards in any future case where this may arise."
Just pausing there, it can be seen from the first sentence of that email that the number of cases in which the Treasury Solicitor is currently instructed on behalf of the State relate to "children". It can also be seen from the last paragraph that the Secretary of State has clearly reached a settled decision not to apply to intervene at all in the present case, and in the event that he later wishes to make submissions around this topic it will not be in the present case at all.
I now deal briefly with the formal application that I have already described, which is before me today, by the Official Solicitor in the case of Westminster City Council v NJ & YJ & HGL
for consolidation, at least temporarily, of that case with this case. I decline, or refuse, to make any application for consolidation. There are indeed several reasons for that.
First, the only party to the case of Westminster City Council v NJ & YJ & HGL
who is before me is the Official Solicitor. There are a number of other parties to that case, namely the Westminster City Council, and the mother of the person concerned, and the providers of the place where the patient in that case currently resides and may be being deprived of her liberty. So this is a very last minute application, made only yesterday, and I have absolutely no idea what the position is of the other parties to those proceedings to the proposition that their case should be consolidated or linked with the present case.
But more fundamentally than that, if I were to consolidate that case with this case I would, of course, as section 2.1(ii) of the application notice quoted at paragraph 13 above contemplates, have to adjourn further consideration of the present case to some later hearing at which all these issues were considered concurrently. Since the Westminster City Council
case, as its name indicates, is entirely located in London, it is probable that the present case would have to be transferred, at least temporarily, to London, and in no time at all the parties to the present proceedings would be sucked into expensive and delaying procedures far away in London. Since there is complete unanimity between the parties and their counsel in the present proceedings as to the outcome and also as to the relevant law, it seems to me that that would be highly undesirable, and indeed would have the adverse effect of affecting the overall timetable and imperilling the present hearing, which was highlighted by the President himself on 5th and 6th June in a passage that I have already quoted at paragraph 9 above.
Further, as will shortly emerge when I am finally able briefly to summarise the facts of the present case, the situation in relation to the patient the subject of the present proceedings is a time limited and relatively short term one. Bizarrely, if I were to allow the application made by the Official Solicitor and Mr Hallin to consolidate, adjourn and transfer for some set piece hearing in London, it might well eventuate that the patient in the present proceedings had already moved on from the children's home in question before that hearing had taken place.
So for those reasons, individually and cumulatively, I refuse the application that has been made in the case of Westminster City Council v NJ & YJ & HGL
for consolidation. I wish to record, however, that I perfectly understand the basis upon which, and spirit in which, the Official Solicitor, and Mr Hallin on his behalf, have made their application which, indeed, echoes some of the suggestions made by the President himself on 5th and 6th June. Further, although I refuse this application, I have appreciated the presence and argument of Mr Hallin today.
After that almost interminably long digression, I now very briefly summarise the factual context of the present application. It concerns a young woman, SG, who was born in early June 1995. Today she is in fact now 19. She was born in Romania and was apparently rapidly abandoned by her parents and taken to a state orphanage there. The first few years of her life appear to have lacked human affection and natural processes of bonding or attachment. When she was about 4 she was adopted by an English couple, who are, of course, now her parents.
As she grew older, it became increasingly plain that she suffers a number of lasting disabilities or disorders. She certainly has learning disability, a disinhibited attachment disorder, and quasi autism. Features of her condition have always been hypersensitivity to external stimuli, and challenging behaviour. More recently there has been a tragic history of self harm. Her childhood has, as a result, been very disrupted. She attended, but was removed from, various schools. She has had to spend long periods in hospitals. More recently she was placed in children's homes. Challenging behaviour towards staff, absconding, damaging property, episodes of self harm and hitting out at her father have all been recorded.
For some time before she actually attained the age of 18 she was accommodated in a certain children's home in the area and it is in those actual premises that she remains accommodated to this day. However, now that she has attained the age of 18 and is indeed now 19, it is completely recognised by the responsible local authority, in agreement with her parents, that arrangements must be made to enable her to move on to what is described as "supported living" in the community. This will take time to identify and set up, and, I have no doubt, considerable funding issues will need to be addressed. The local authority need to find a provider who will purchase or otherwise make available a suitable property and recruit a sufficient number of staff to care for her and keep her safe. The plan is that some premises will be found in which she can live together with a small number of other young women with similar needs. I have been told in the words of the skeleton argument on behalf of the local authority that:
"…one provider has already identified a suitable property and indicated a service could be in place for October 2014. It is hoped that securing a property will take no more than six to nine months after appointing the care agency, but it may be much quicker than that."
As I understand it, it is contemplated that a high level of staffing and supervision will be required under that plan. If (as I assume is likely) it will involve a deprivation of liberty, then, in due course appropriate authorisations will be required.
Meantime, however, she has continued to live seamlessly in the children's home where she was living before she attained the age of 18. There, too, she is the subject of very considerable staffing on a 3:1 basis. The staffing includes monitoring her while she is in the bathroom (ensuring her dignity is maintained at all times), locking the front door as a preventative measure, following, observing and monitoring her on visits into the community, and if she "attempts to leave the staff supporting her, they should follow several paces behind her and attempt to maintain conversation." Items which may be used for self harm will be removed, and she remains supported 3:1 during the day and 2:1 during the night.
It is completely accepted by and on behalf of the local authority that that package of existing measures clearly amounts to a deprivation of her liberty as that concept has now been explained, in particular in paragraph 46 of the judgment of Baroness Hale of Richmond in the Cheshire West
case, which I do not need to cite for the purposes of this judgment. Having appreciated in the light of the Cheshire West
case that they currently do, and propose to continue to, deprive the patient of her liberty, the local authority commenced the present proceedings in the Court of Protection for appropriate authorisations.
The deprivation of liberty safeguards and a standard authorisation under Schedule A1 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 are not in point in the present case because the patient is not detained in a hospital or a care home. At a hearing on 6th February 2014 in Liverpool, a district judge of the Court of Protection made an interim order which included the following interim declaration:
"4. To the extent that the arrangements and other measures in place as part of [the patient's] care and risk management plans amount to a deprivation of her liberty, they are lawful and otherwise in her best interests."
It was about a week after that that the guidance to which I have referred was published. As a result, by a later order dated 8th May 2014, which was described as being "supplemental to the order dated 6th February 2014", the same district judge ordered that:
"(i)In the light of guidance issued on 12th February 2014 paragraph 4 of the declarations section of the order of 6th February 2014 be set aside;
(ii)In all other respects, the order of 6th February 2014 is confirmed."
So, pausing there, one can see from that that in early May that district judge inclined to the view that the language of the guidance had the effect that he could not properly have made declaration 4 that he had earlier made on 6th February 2014 as set out above.
The matter then came before a different district judge the following day, on 9th May 2014, when both parties were represented. The order of that district judge on 9th May 2014 recites as follows:
"Whereas the court records that a serious issue has been raised concerning the respondent's current deprivation of liberty at a non-secure children's home in light of the Children's Home Regulations 2001 (Regulation 17A), the subsequent guidance of the President and OFSTED dated February 2014 and the decision of the Supreme Court in P v Cheshire West and Chester Council…"
it was ordered and directed that: "This matter is transferred to the High Court for hearing before Mr Justice Holman sitting" here in Manchester today.
It should be noted that although that order contained the recital which I have quoted, which clearly indicates the area of perceived difficulty in the case, the district judge did not formulate any precise or particular question that I was asked to address and, indeed, at that stage simply transferred the proceedings generally. However, in the light of the skeleton arguments of counsel, and with their joint concurrence today, I have identified and formulated the actual question as that which I set out in paragraph 2 above.
The way in which that question and the perceived difficulty arises is as follows. Section 121(1) of the Care Standards Act 2000, the interpretation section, defines that in that Act "child" means a person under the age of 18. Section 1(2) of that Act provides that: "An establishment is a children's home… if it provides care and accommodation wholly or mainly for children." The premises in which the patient in this case currently resides, and was residing before she attained the age of 18, is premises which have provided care and accommodation wholly or mainly for children in that there were at one time several children resident there. It is currently "registered" as a children's home pursuant to the Care Standards Act 2000 and regulations made under it.
I have been told today that as a matter of fact no other person (apart from staff) currently resides in those premises apart from the patient. So, on one view, currently it is not providing care and accommodation even "mainly for children", as no child resides there at all. However, all parties have proceeded on the basis that, notwithstanding the fact that currently no children reside there, it remains a children's home for the purposes of the Act and the regulations, and I will proceed on that basis and assumption.
Assuming the premises to be a children's home, the Children's Homes Regulations 2001 SI  No 3967 are in general terms engaged. Part III of those regulations is entitled "Conduct of Children's Homes". Chapter 1 of Part III is entitled "Welfare of Children". Within Chapter 1, regulations 11 to 24 make a range of provisions with regard to the welfare of children, the food provided to children, communications with children, the protection of children, the behaviour, management and discipline of children, health needs, hazards and safety and other matters.
Of most relevance to the perceived problem in the present case is regulation 17A, which is entitled "Restraint". Paragraph (1) provides as follows:
"(1) Subject to paragraph (2) a measure of restraint may only be used on a child accommodated in a children's home for the purpose of-
(a)preventing injury to any person (including the child who is being restrained);
(b)preventing serious damage to the property of any person (including the child who is being restrained); and
(c)in the case of a child accommodated in a children's home which is a secure children's home, preventing the child from absconding from the home, and then only where no alternative method of preventing the event specified in sub-paragraphs (a) to (c) is available."
Just pausing there, whilst the regulation is prominent, it will be noted that throughout that part of that regulation the references are entirely to "a child", that phrase being used five times in that short quotation.
The guidance that was issued on 12th February 2014 states at paragraph 3:
"3.The Court of Protection should be reminded by the parties of the regulations that apply to children's homes and residential special schools. The Court of Protection does not have the jurisdiction to require any home or school to act in breach of such regulations or to authorise any such breach. Accordingly, the Court of Protection should not make an order authorising a plan for the care and supervision involving the detention of a person, where to do so would involve the children's home or a residential special school breaching the regulations that apply to it. If compliance with an order of the Court of Protection would involve such a breach of the relevant Regulations it cannot be relied on to justify breach of the Regulations or enforced in a manner that would involve such a breach."
Pausing there, that paragraph contains, if I may respectfully say so, no more than a legal truism. Regulations have the force of law, and no court, frankly, in any circumstances that I can readily think of, can authorise a person or body to act in a way that contravenes a regulation, or still less a statute, so as to be in breach of the regulation or statute. On a careful reading of that paragraph of the guidance, it ultimately says no more than that. The question, therefore, in any case is whether what the Court of Protection is otherwise being asked to authorise would amount to a "breach" of some regulation.
The guidance continues at paragraph 4 as follows:
"4.All children's homes must meet the Children's Homes Regulations (2001). In this instance, the relevant regulations are:
Regulation 11 (Promotion of Welfare),
Regulation 17 (Behaviour, management and discipline) and
Regulation 17A (Restraint).
As restraint can only be used to prevent a child from leaving a secure children's home, there is no purpose to be served in seeking an order of the Court of Protection authorising such restraint by a non-secure children's home because the Court of Protection has no jurisdiction to order or authorise a breach of these regulations."
Pausing there, it is possible (I put it no higher than that) that the accuracy of that part of the guidance is more debatable. It may beg the question of whether paragraph 17A(1)(c) of the regulations is a platform or a ceiling. But that is territory into which I simply should not and do not venture in the present case because paragraph 4 of the guidance is directed to "a child" and, as I have stressed, the patient in this case is not a child.
Finally, in a section that is avowedly headed "In Summary", paragraph 13 of the guidance provides:
"13.Orders of the Court of Protection authorising a deprivation of liberty by non-secure children's homes or residential special schools should not be sought or made and they should not be advanced or relied on to permit such homes and schools to act in breach of the regulations that apply to them."
That, of course, is merely a summary, and the content of paragraph 13 is more fully elaborated in paragraphs 3 and 4 from which I have already quoted.
Mr Hallin has pointed out that in paragraph 6 of the guidance, which pertains to residential special schools, there is a reference to "a young person"; but I say nothing about that since, as I have stressed, the present case and judgment has nothing whatsoever to do with residential special schools.
The essential point and difficulty that has been raised by this case, and maybe a large number of other cases, is that readers of the guidance have understood it to be preclude any resort to the Court of Protection at all, in any circumstances in which the premises in which a person (whether a child or an adult) is residing or detained happen to be premises which are a children's home as defined in section 1(2) of the Care Standards Act 2000. It is, however, necessary to stress and emphasise yet again that the point that has been made in both paragraphs 3 and 4 of the guidance is that the Court of Protection cannot authorise an act which would involve or represent a breach of the regulations. That simply does not arise and is not in point in any case in which the person concerned has attained the age of 18.
I will not quote at length from the various other regulations within Chapter 1 of Part III of the Children's Homes Regulations 2001, but any reader of them can see that regulation 11, which is concerned with promotion of welfare, refers repeatedly to "children". Regulation 17, which relates to "Behaviour, management and discipline", refers repeatedly to "children" or "a child". I have already quoted regulation 17A (1), and pointed out that that refers repeatedly and exclusively to "a child". So also does regulation 17A(2). Regulation 17B, which is concerned with "Policies and Records", refers again and again to a "child".
The short and simple point is that the relevant parts of the Children's Homes Regulations 2001 simply do not apply at all in the case of a person who is no longer a child. It may often happen, as it has happened in this case, that the premises in which a person, now adult, resides or is detained happen also to be a children's home. But it frankly makes no difference whether the premises themselves are a children's home or are some dedicated premises that have been provided in the community under the kind of "supported living model" contemplated for this very patient in this very case.
In my view, the Court of Protection has undoubted power in the present case to make, if appropriate, an order authorising the deprivation of liberty. Further, it is the duty of the person or body, in this case the local authority, who is or are depriving the patient of his liberty, to apply to the court for an authorisation; and, indeed, the duty of the court to make such authorisation as in its discretion and on the fact and in the circumstances of the case it considers appropriate.
In the present case it is common ground, and there is abundant evidence to support the proposition, that this patient lacks capacity to litigate and to make decisions as to her care and residence, and that it is in her best interests to continue for the time being to reside in the premises which are a children's home in which she has been residing for some time, and that the deprivation of her liberty which is involved should be authorised.
So for those reasons I, myself, answer the question posed in paragraph 2 above as "yes", and there will be an order which records that the court does consider that neither the Children's Homes Regulations 2001 nor the joint guidance issued by the President of the Court of Protection and OFSTED dated 12th February 2014 prevent the Court of Protection from authorising under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 that a person who is an adult (viz. over the age of 18) may be deprived of his liberty in premises which are a children's home. There will be appropriate declarations as to the lack of capacity and best interests of the patient and authorising the deprivation of her liberty; and I now transfer this matter back to the Court of Protection sitting in Liverpool where future decision making will be resumed after an appropriate interval by the local district judge there.