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Deprivation of Liberty Orders

Tuesday April 9, 2024

In Family Law, the High Court can use its inherent jurisdiction to authorise the deprivation of liberty of children and young people where the nature of their care amounts to a deprivation of liberty. 


Under Article 5(1) of the European Convention of Human rights, no one shall be deprived of their liberty except: (a) in certain cases, and (b) in accordance with a procedure prescribed by the law.


Under statute, the High Court can also deprive a looked-after child of their liberty where they have a history of absconding, for example, and are likely to suffer significant harm, injure themselves or others if they were placed in another other form of accommodation. These Orders are time limited, and the matter must then return to the Court if the Local Authority seek to extend the Order.


Applications are made by the relevant Local Authority (Children’s Services) and the Court will make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child or young person.


Deprivation of Liberty proceedings have now been centralised and are heard before the National Deprivation of Liberty Court before Family Division Judges in the Royal Courts of Justice or Section 9 Judges who are authorised to act as Judges of the High Court.   


The Head of the Family Law Department and Director, Ms Emma Cordock and Director, Ms Stacy Fox have both obtained their Higher Rights of Audience which allows them to represent those with parental responsibility who are a party to proceedings or children/young persons who are subject to Deprivation of Liberty proceedings and have a wealth of experience in doing so. 


Legal Aid can be available for those with parental responsibility who are party to Deprivation of Liberty proceedings, subject to a means and merits test. Legal Aid is also available for children/young persons who are subject to proceedings. We offer a free consultation to discuss eligibility for Legal Aid. 


If you have any queries or wish to obtain further advice in respect of Deprivation of Liberty proceedings or another family law matter, please contact our offices on enquiries@afglaw.co.uk or 01204 377 600. 

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