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Home > Judgments > 2010 archive

G v E, A Local Authority & F [2010] EWHC 621 (Fam)

Application under Mental Capacity Act 2005 brought by a sister of an adult (E) with severe learning disabilities asking the court to decide, among other things, on whether: i) E has capacity, ii) he has been unlawfully detained and iii) if the latter, damages should be paid.

E suffers from a genetic condition known as tuberous sclerosis and as a consequence has a severe learning disability. He had been placed with a foster carer (F) since 1999, but with contact with his sister (G). E started to attend a residential home in 2004 but difficulties arose over the apparent differences in his behaviour at the home and with F.  In July 2009, following a trip abroad where E hit F and comments made by F concerning her management of E, E was housed in a small residential unit, placed on medication and F was told that he would not be returning home. F and G then initiated these proceedings and before Ryder J, without any consideration of whether E had been deprived of his liberty, an order was made that E should remain at the unit pending further determination and that G and F should have contact.

In this judgment, Baker J provides a thorough review of the statutory framework, including the deprivation of liberty safeguards ("DOLS"), and the relevant UK and European case law. He then considers several points of law and concludes, among other things, that:

1. E lacks capacity, though his wishes and feelings must be taken into account

2. E had been deprived of his liberty as a result of his housing, and that by not following or considering DOLS at any planning or strategy meetings, the local authority has infringed E's Article 5 rights

3. failure by the professionals involved to consider properly E's home life with F meant that the interim removal of E also breached his Article 8 rights to E's detriment and made the Court's decisions more finely balanced

4. E's subsequent deprivation of liberty was made lawful by the interim order of Ryder J

5. there is no threshold condition such that the court may not entertain an application under s16 of the MCA and any proposed deprivation of liberty must be part of a best interests analysis.

6. any ruling on whether a placement with F would deprive E of his liberty would have no bearing on the best interests analysis.

He then conducts the best interests analysis and makes an interim order that E should remain at the unit pending a final hearing but states that it is "in my judgment a good prospect that at the final hearing the court will be able to order E's return home to F".

_______________________

Neutral Citation Number: [2010] EWHC 621 (Fam)

Case No: 11774770
IN THE COURT OF PROTECTION

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 26/03/2010

Before :
THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE BAKER

Between :
G  (Applicant)

 - and - 
 
E (First Respondent)
(By his litigation friend the Official Solicitor)

-and-

A LOCAL AUTHORITY (Second Respondent)               

-and-

F (Third Respondent) 

-----------------
Miss Kerry Bretherton (instructed by Linder Myers) for the Applicant

Miss Amy Street (instructed by Irwin Mitchell) for the First Respondent

Miss Gillian Irving QC and Mr David Mackley (instructed by the Local Authority's Solicitor's Department) for the Second Respondent

Mr Neil Allen (instructed by Linder Myers) for the Third Respondent

Hearing dates: 14, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 January, 10 February and 8 March 2010
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Approved Judgment

I direct that pursuant to CPR PD 39A para 6.1 no official shorthand note shall be taken of this Judgment and that copies of this version as handed down may be treated as authentic.

THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE BAKER:
This judgment is being handed down in private on 26th March 2010.  It consists of 54 pages and has been signed and dated by the Judge. The Judge hereby gives leave for it to be reported on the strict understanding that in any report no person mentioned in the judgment may be identified by name or location except for (a) the advocates and the solicitors instructing them and (b) Mr Christopher Read and Dr. Berney. In particular the anonymity of the Applicant, the First Respondent and the Third Respondent must be strictly preserved.
 
MR. JUSTICE BAKER  :
INTRODUCTION

1. This is an application in the Court of Protection in respect of E (born 1990, therefore now aged 19) who suffers from a rare and very complex genetic condition known as tuberous sclerosis and as a result has a severe learning disability. The application is brought by E's sister, G.  The respondents to the application are E himself by his litigation friend, the Official Solicitor; the local authority in whose area E resides; and F, a woman with whom E resided for over ten years, initially as a foster carer under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 and subsequently under an adult placement until he was removed by the local authority in April 2009. 

2. By this application, G asks the court to decide the following matters:

i) whether E has capacity to make decisions;

ii) whether it is in his best interests to return to live with F or whether he should be cared for in a residential care home and if so which care home;

iii) what contact provision should be made for G and/or F if E does not return home;

iv) whether the local authority has unlawfully detained E in breach of Article 5 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and/or the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and/or Article 6 of the convention;

v) whether the local authority has interfered with E's right to a home and/or to family life under Article 8 of the convention;

vi) whether E should receive damages from the local authority and the amount of such damages for breach of Articles 5, 6 and or 8;

vii) whether the local authority should bear the costs of this claim. 

3. The matter came before me sitting on circuit for an interim hearing to consider two matters: (1) whether E is currently deprived of his liberty and (2) what is in E's best interest with regard to residence and contact pending the final hearing, now listed for July 2010.  The interim hearing had been listed for two days in a busy Family Division list containing other equally urgent cases.  In the event it became apparent that the issues to be determined at the interim hearing were extremely complex and that the two-day time estimate was wholly inadequate.  A total of nine bundles of written material were filed (subsequently reduced to four "core" bundles).  Specifically, I formed the view that it would not have been possible to do justice to the parties and the issues, even at this interim stage, without hearing extensive oral evidence and making final decisions on a number of the other issues raised in G's application in addition to those listed before me.  Fortunately I was able to clear some time in the following week on circuit but in order to complete hearing the evidence it was necessary for me to return (for the convenience of the witnesses) on two separate days in the following weeks.  In view of the extensive issues, and the wide ranging legal arguments deployed by the parties, I requested written submissions (which were duly delivered together with over seventy legal authorities).  I then set aside a further day on 8th March (listed for counsel's convenience) in the middle of a lengthy case in London to consider supplementary oral submissions. 

4. This illustrates a major difficulty which Judges of the Family Division are currently experiencing with cases in this field.  The changes brought about by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 have increased the role and work of the Court of Protection. The issues arising in such cases are often extremely complex and require lengthy consideration, but they are also urgent and require speedy determination. The more complex cases are referred to the judges of the Family Division, all of whom are appointed to sit in the Court of Protection.  I understand that about ten per cent of the Division judicial time is at the moment being taken by Court of Protection work, although there has been no corresponding increase in resources.  In this case, the court has had to accommodate this overrunning hearing in the middle of other pressing business. 

5. Urgent attention needs to be given to increasing the resources of the Family Division to deal with these difficult and urgent cases. 

BACKGROUND
6. E was born on 19 September 1990 and is therefore now aged 19 years.  His paediatrician has described his tuberous sclerosis as "a very complex genetic condition".  His physical problems include associated kidney abnormalities and a severe scoliosis of the spine. His learning difficulties cause significant social and communication difficulties.  His expressive and receptive language skills have been assessed by a speech and language therapist as developmentally equivalent to an 18-24 month old child.  In oral evidence, E's paediatrician described how the difficulties suffered by those afflicted with this condition become more difficult as they get older.  There are non-cancerous tumours in certain organs of the body in particular the brain, kidneys and heart.  The tumours in the brain lead to learning difficulties.  The illness is often progressive and there is an increased risk of malignancy in later life in the brain and the kidneys.  There is a spectrum – at one end people can lead a relatively normal life, but at the other end, the condition can cause great difficulties – epilepsy, renal failure and malignancy.  E's paediatrician described E as having a severe form of the condition.

7. E comes from a troubled family.  His father had a moderate learning difficulty, alcohol problems and a history of physical and sexual violence towards women and was a Schedule 1 offender with a range of convictions for various criminal offences.  There was much concern in E's early years that his mother was unable to protect E from his father.  E has an older sister, G, the applicant in these proceedings. She is now aged 26 and lives with her partner and two young children, one of whom also suffers from tuberous sclerosis.

8. F has for many years been a foster carer with the local authority.  E was first placed with her for respite care in 1995 and finally accommodated with her on a full-time basis by the local authority under section 20 of the 1989 Act in 1999.  Thereafter, throughout E's childhood, he was looked after by F.  He had some contact with his birth family including occasional visits from his sister G.  In 2001, E started to attend a school for children with special needs.  He has continued to attend that school up to the present day.  There has been a long history of disagreements between the school and F. At various points during the last few years the school has expressed some concerns about F's care.  But overall, it is important to note that the view of the professionals involved with E has been that he has been well cared for by F.  For example, in 2002, one social worker observed: "F is very skilled in the care of E and has considerable insight into his complex needs".  F has a son of her own, H, who is also aged 20 and thus much the same age as E. The boys grew up together. She also has an older son, I who unfortunately has been in prison for a number of offences.  It is beyond argument that E has been treated and has regarded himself as a member of F's family – in the words of her counsel, he is "an integral part of family life". 

9. In December 2004, E started attending the J Residential Home for respite care and continued to visit that establishment from time to time until he was removed from F's care in April 2009.  In contrast to her relationship with the school, F has always had a good relationship with the staff at the J Residential Home.

10. A major cause of the disagreement between F and the staff at school has been the apparent difference in E's behaviour at school and at home.  At school, there were regular reports of E displaying challenging behaviour.  F has consistently maintained that she did not experience similar behaviour from E at home.  The behaviour complained of at school included shouting, hitting other people, and spitting.  There was particular difficulty over the travel arrangements between school and home. E would frequently display challenging behaviour on the school bus and on arrival at school.  For example, on 20 June 2007, there was a report that E attacked the transport escort twice during a week.  That same week, the J Residential Home also reported that E was displaying challenging behaviour, including attacking other children and smearing.  The manager at the J Residential Home felt that E's behaviour was becoming more difficult and thought that he "may become a 2:1", i.e. required two carers to look after him during his stay at the J Residential Home.

11. Shortly after that week there occurred an incident which has given rise to concerns about F's treatment of E.  According to a note taken by a member of staff at school, on 6 July 2007, when F arrived to collect E from school, she noticed that he had had an accident.  The note continues: "F moved towards E and stood nose to nose wagging her finger in his face telling him in an aggressive manger that he doesn't do this at home so why does he do it at school.  At this point E's entire posture changed and his head and shoulders dropped forward. Still nose to nose and wagging her finger, F said 'you are seventeen now you don't need to do this at home so you shouldn't do it at school'… F then said 'what you should do is put him to the wall, that's what I did that Sunday when he was screaming and shouting.'  F looked at me and said he's gone backwards like when he first came to me."  F denies much of this account, claiming that she never wagged her finger in E's face, never stood nose to nose with him and did not address him in an aggressive manner, nor did she say she had put E to the wall. 

12. On 29 July 2007, a report was prepared for the local authority by Dr K, a consultant psychiatrist, and Dr L, a psychologist of a Unit.  E had been referred to the unit to assess whether he came within the autistic spectrum.  The conclusion was that he did not and that his behavioural difficulties were consistent with the diagnosis of tuberous sclerosis.  The assessors observed E at school and at home and saw a significant contrast.  At school, they saw examples of difficult behaviour alleged by the school.  This was not repeated at home, although when F left the room, E became noticeably more anxious.  Dr. K and Dr. L concluded: "it seemed that F provided E with a lot of social scaffolding which obviously helped him feel very secure and relaxed.  Without that scaffolding, however, it seems he finds social interaction very difficult and becomes very anxious very quickly".

13. In September 2007, F made a further complaint about the school.  She was still unhappy about the way in which the staff were managing E's behaviour.  This led to a multi-agency meeting at the school which F attended and brought E with her.  During the meeting F expressed criticisms of the school.  This led to a complaint by E's paediatrician about F's behaviour at the meeting and about her actions in bringing E to the meeting.  The deputy head teacher at the school, M, also complained about the fact that F had brought E to the meeting. 

14. By this stage E was seventeen and decisions had to be made about his long-term future.  Social services records show that F was in two minds about whether or not she thought E should stay with her as an adult.  Two transfer summaries were prepared by the local authority preparing for his transfer to adult services. One recorded that F had decided not to care for E as an adult but the later document recorded that she had decided to re-register as an adult placement carer.  On 3 December 2007, N, the social worker responsible for overseeing E's transition into adult care, visited F at home. The note of his meeting records that F had seen some evidence of E's difficult behaviour at home but "she continues to cope well.  F is now reconsidering her decision to be E's adult placement carer.  She feels that he may be better placed in residential accommodation following his eighteenth birthday.  I agreed to pursue this with adult services." 

15. The impression that F was having some difficulty with E's behaviour at home at this stage is repeated in a further report from Dr L, the psychologist, dated 12 December 2007 in which she states inter alia: "of concern was that F noted that there had been a change in E's behaviour at home since half-term and there have been a number of incidents where he has been verbally aggressive at home. She had been shocked by these episodes as had other members of her family.  I think it was difficult for her to glimpse what school have been describing happening in her own home.  Again it was difficult to ascertain what the triggers to these outbursts have been.  However I was able to offer F some advice on how to manage them".

16. Thus during the latter part of 2007 and the early part of 2008, there was an understanding it seems that F would not be the adult carer for E after he attained the age of eighteen.

17. One major problem facing E at this time was the prospect of major surgery to treat his long term spinal problem.  In May 2008, he was admitted to hospital for surgery to be carried out.  In the event he remained in hospital for four months and underwent two serious operations.  F describes what happened in her statement dated 16 December 2009 at paragraphs 46-47:

"the [first] operation was on 26 May 2008.  I again attended the hospital and stayed with E, waiting until the five hour operation was over.  I was informed there had been a complication in the operation by E's surgeon….  He informed me that E had lost the use of his legs.  I found this news devastating.  E was then in intensive care and I spent every day with him, reading to him, talking to him, and playing his favourite music.  After some time E was well enough to be moved to the regular ward, and I continued to visit and spend every day with him.  I would massage E's legs daily, and at one point I noticed that they moved slightly.  I informed the doctor who was delighted with his progress.  From this E had intensive physiotherapy.  I am not qualified in this area but each day I would assist him and encourage him to walk and massage his legs… I would frequently spend my entire day at the hospital with E… some time later E had recovered enough to have a second operation on 18 September, the day before his eighteenth birthday.  This operation was successful and I was asked to attend the post surgical area to be there for E when he woke up. E recovered well from this operation and he left hospital on 29 September". 

18. F's dedication to E during his time in hospital in 2008 is widely acknowledged as having played a considerable part in his successful recovery.  His surgeon comments upon F's "immense contribution to E's recovery and her very positive interaction with staff at the hospital". 

19. While E was in hospital, two significant events occurred.  First, his birth mother, who had been considering applying to be his carer after he reached the age of eighteen, unfortunately died.  Secondly, F reached a firm conclusion that she wished to continue to care for E as an adult.  She therefore informed social services and on 8 September 2008 completed an adult carer application form. As part of the process of application, she completed a CRB check.  She was required to make a formal declaration of convictions on which she stated that she had committed an offence of shoplifting in 1973 for which she had been fined.  In fact, F has four previous convictions between 1975 and 1983, three for theft and one for handling.  The details of these offences were known to the children services department at the local authority.  Nonetheless, it is clear that full details should have been given on the application form. 

20. On 12 October 2008, O of the local authority's Adult Placement and Supported Lodgings Service completed a report on F's application. The conclusion was positive.  The report included a reference from a nurse who had cared for E during his hospital admission.  The referee said that F is a very caring and supportive person who had shown herself to be able to meet not only E's physical but also his psychological needs.  She confirmed that F worked extremely well with all the multi disciplinary team at the hospital.  The report by O concludes:

"I believe that E is already an important family member. F had reservations initially about continuing to care for E due to him needing the operation.  However, when he had the first unsuccessful one, she realised that she wanted to continue to care for him.  She motivated him in hospital and he has made a really good recovery at a rate that has surprised health professionals and school staff alike.  Having seen F with E it is clear that they have a very positive relationship.  F does not underestimate E, and is able to anticipate his needs.  She is proactive in obtaining services for E and not afraid to speak out about them.  Seeing F interact with colleagues has only been positive.  She is clear and prepared for meetings but also willing to take advice." 

Miss O therefore made the recommendation that F be approved as a long term carer for E. 

21. On 14 November 2008, an adult placement agreement was signed whereunder F granted E a licence to occupy a room at her home on standard terms.  On 16 December, the placement officer carried out a home visit and noted that E was really happy with F and was treated as one of the family.  On 24 December, the formal carer agreement between the local authority's Adult Placement and Supported Lodging Service and F was signed. Under the agreement,  F gave various undertakings.  Of particular relevance to this case is the following undertaking:

"to follow government guidance on restrictive physical restraint.  The adult placement carer must not subject someone placed with them to any physical restraint unless that restraint is the only practical way to safeguard the person or another service user.  The adult placement carer must not carry out any such restraint unless they have had the relevant training.  The adult placement carer must follow the risk management procedures written into the service users' plan/placement agreement which may include guidance on physical intervention.  The adult placement carer must inform the adult placement service manager of any incident where they have used physical restraint whilst supporting a person using the service."

22. Meanwhile, however, E had returned to school following his discharge from hospital and had continued to display behavioural problems.  On some occasions, the only way in which the school were able to manage E was to separate him from the rest of the class.  He had a special room to which he was allowed to retreat.  In addition, the problems over home school transport had recurred and by February 2009, this problem was getting worse.  The school had endeavoured to make the transition from home to school as smooth as possible, for example by ensuring that E was met by the same familiar adult on arrival. However, on 4 February 2009, there was a complaint that he bit the member of school staff who met him regularly, injuring her arm.  His teacher commented: "as the situation deteriorates, we are very concerned that E himself, school staff and students are at risk during the busiest time during the day".

23. In addition, F was also experiencing some occasional challenging behaviour by E. During a home visit by the social worker P on 19 February, F reported that E had presented some unusual behaviour and had become violent in a way that was really out of character and for which there was no real reason.  She described how E had become angry and snatched at her sister's chain pulling it from her neck and then stamped on her sister's partner's mobile phone.  On another occasion, E had thrown a dustbin at F forcing her to retreat temporarily into the garden.  At this time a further difficulty arose.  It became clear that F was having some difficulty getting to grips with the requirements for keeping records about E's money.  A holiday was booked for F to take E abroad in April.  There was some concern about the way in which E's money had been used to pay for this trip. Meanwhile F was continuing to raise concerns about E's behaviour at school and the way in which it was being handled.  She expressed concern at the way in which, as she saw it, he was being isolated at school as a way of controlling his behaviour.  She reiterated these concerns at another multi-agency meeting on 21 March. 

24. On 28 March, F took E on holiday abroad, accompanied by her sister Q and her sister's partner R.  Whilst there, there occurred an incident during which E struck F.  The accounts of what happened thereafter vary, and I shall consider the evidence about this incident in detail later in the judgment. 

25. While F and E were abroad, the local authority received a "safeguarding adults" referral from M, the deputy head teacher at the school.  The referral stated that the school's educational psychologist, S, had been doing a piece of work with E and had been concerned by some of the language he used.  It was reported that E had made comments about "sleeping in the wardrobe" and "don't lock the door" and had made other comments during episodes of challenging behaviour that had taken place at school.  The school had been advised by psychologists to record all comments made by E that could be concerning.  The educational psychologist had not herself heard E using such phrases directly but had asked school to report incidents to social services and to continue recording.  There was concern that E's alleged comments could reflect the way in which some of his behaviours were being managed at home. The psychologist confirmed her concerns when the social worker T telephoned her on 31 March.  She added, however, that E had also been heard to say "U [a school staff member] hit me" when he had in fact hit himself. 

26. On 4 April, F and E returned from the trip abroad.  Two days later Miss T visited the home.  She informed F that a safeguarding referral had been received and was advised about the local authority's safeguarding adults policy, and that the police had been contacted and may wish to speak to her.  Miss T conducted an examination of the premises and found that there was no wardrobe in E's room.  During this visit, F told Miss T about the incident abroad.  Miss T consulted with colleagues and her team manager.  The next day, 7 April, the local authority concluded that E should be placed in respite care while the safeguarding referral was being investigated.  He therefore moved to a residential unit at the V Unit, an emergency respite unit.  E found it very difficult to settle in at this unit and there were instances in which members of staff sustained injury.  He was also heard to say "don't lock me in the cupboard" and "don't hurt me".  Staff at the V Unit became concerned that the only way to manage his difficult behaviour would be to use physical restraint which it was not their policy to use.  They were uncertain as to whether the behaviour demonstrated by E was his usual presentation or attributable to his anxiety at being removed from his home.  On 17 April, E sustained an injury to his arm.  On the same day, he slapped a worker at the home.

27. On 21 April, a meeting was held to consider feedback about the observations of school staff and social services about E's comments.  F was neither present nor, so far as I am aware, invited to the meeting.  The educational psychologist Miss S stated that she felt that a 24-hour regime provider may be required to meet E's needs in the long term.  The school agreed that such a course might be required as a way of developing E's capacity for self-control and managing in adulthood.  On 22 April, the local authority solicitor was consulted by the social worker, concerning a separate issue, namely a possible application for contact by E's father.  In passing, she made the following observation: "also need to consider whether respite care meets definition of residential accommodation and whether may need to make DOL referral to safeguarding board.  However I will make further enquiries into this." 

28. Two days later on 24 April, a strategy meeting was held. Once again, F was not invited to the meeting.  No lawyer was present.  Certain actions were agreed at the meeting.  There was no consideration of whether the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards ("DOLS") under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 were engaged.  There was no indication of how long the safeguarding investigation was expected to last.  A report was received from the educational psychologist reiterating her views about the advisability of a 24-hour care regime. 

29. When F saw E on 12 May, she noticed that he was very unsettled and also that he had lots of scratches on his neck.  She was very concerned about his condition.  She repeatedly asked when E would be coming home and was told by Miss T and Miss P that it would not be long until his return.  She says that she put in a complaint about his scratches but never received any response and, thereafter, she was no longer allowed to visit him.  On 11 June, she was visited by Miss T and Miss P and told that E would not be returning home.  Meanwhile, E's behaviour at the V Unit continued to cause concern.  On 25 May, he hit a carer on the back.  A note dated the following day describes E as missing those he knows and being unclear when he will see F again.  By this stage it was clear that the V Unit would not be able to manage E's behaviour satisfactorily and the local authority started to look for a different placement.  The local authority sought the advice of another clinical psychologist, Miss W.  She concluded that "the way in which E has made these statements implies that he is thinking about something that has happened in the past or what has been said to him … Either E has had some of these things happen to him or they have been said to him possibly as a way of controlling his behaviour… However, it is not possible to be conclusive.  The statements that E has made should be reviewed by the police, and F should be asked about the management strategies she used to control his behaviour." 

30. So far as the future is concerned, Miss W stated "E's placement needs in my view are that (a) E needs to be supported by a service with a number of regular carers; (b) E needs to be supported by services that have clear proactive approaches for supporting people who have complex communication needs, obsessions and a requirement for clear routines and planned activities; (c) E needs to be supported by a service that has a clear policy and training strategy for reactive non-physical strategies as well as breakaway techniques and restrictive physical interventions where required as a last resort."

31. On 28 May, Miss T referred E to X Ltd, an independent provider of domiciliary care services.  X Ltd's director, Mr. Y, replied with a proposal that E should move to X Ltd's establishment at Z Road, a residential unit housing three men of special needs with a staff support ratio of 2:1.  The property is a four bedroom detached house in what is described as a "leafy" part of the local authority's area and is staffed by a house manager, team leader and five domiciliary support workers.  Each resident has his own bedroom.

32. A further strategy meeting was held on 11 June.  Once again F was not invited.  By this point, E was being prescribed and treated with medication, Haloperidol and Procyclidine, to manage his behaviour.  The minutes of the meeting recall amongst the agreed actions: "best interests decision regarding E's future placement is to be made upon concluding of safeguarding investigation".  Following that meeting, F was advised that E would not be returning home. 

33. On 15 June, E moved to Z Road.  At some point, a document described as a tenancy agreement was executed on his behalf by Mr. Y.  The significance of this document is considered later in this judgment.  E took some time to settle at Z Road.  He made comments about "Mummy coming, mummy lovely, will mummy be coming". By "mummy", it is clear that he was referring to F.  It was also noted that he was making statements about missing F's son H.   

34. On 30 June, a further meeting was held to discuss the ongoing safeguarding investigation. On this occasion, F was present, together with social workers and lawyers representing both the local authority and F.  The incident abroad was discussed at this meeting. 

35. Meanwhile, following a referral by Miss T, an independent mental capacity advocate ("IMCA") had been duly appointed under the Mental Capacity Act to represent E and on 7 July she completed a report. The IMCA recorded that she visited E at Z Road on 23 June and discussed with staff the continued use of medication.  She had also discussed the issue of DOLS. She states: "however staff were unaware of what DOLS is and now the placement is in nature a supportive tenancy with E having a tenancy agreement and care being provided by domiciliary care staff he would not be protected by DOLS legislation.  I advised staff to discuss this matter with their managers to ensure that E's liberty is not deprived in any unlawful manner." The IMCA also noted: "the decision to move E to Z Road had already been made prior to my involvement, however having made enquiries about the placement and spoken to the staff, I believe it is a very suitable placement for E and would meet his needs and give him opportunities to develop his independent living skills."

36. By this stage, F had consulted solicitors and on 9 July they wrote to the local authority indicating that they were instructed to start proceedings seeking a judicial review of the decision to remove E and place him in residential care, plus best interests declaratory relief and redress for the infringement of F's human rights.  F's solicitors asserted inter alia: "it is our client's contention that [the local authority] through its offices and agencies have acted unlawfully and unreasonably and in doing so have not addressed the best interests of E in respect of our client.  Further that [the local authority] is operating unlawfully by depriving E of his liberty and without a standard authorisation as provided for under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards."  The solicitors asked for copies of minutes of any best interests meetings held in respect of E and for details of any standard authorisation form completed in respect of a deprivation of liberty assessment.  On 14 July, the local authority replied, denying any breach of F's human rights or that she was entitled to the relief claimed in her solicitor's letter.  The local authority asserted that DOLS had been followed and that a best interests meeting would be convened within the next four weeks. 

37. Meanwhile E had settled in at Z Road.  Although there were occasional reports of ongoing difficult behaviour, it seemed that he was responding to the medication. 

38. E's sister G, who had not seen him for over a year since his period in hospital, got in touch with the local authority on 24 August.  She had not been informed about E's move until shortly before the call and had not, of course, been involved in any decision-making about his future, although, as she acknowledged, the local authority did not have her contact details.  On 2 September, G contacted the social worker again, and asked if she could visit E.  On 9 September, a letter before action on behalf of G was sent to the local authority by her solicitors (in fact the same solicitors who had previously sent the letter before action on behalf of F) warning of G's intention to start proceedings under the Mental Capacity Act and the Human Rights Act.  On 16 September, G visited E at school and saw him again on his birthday the following Saturday.  Meanwhile, F sent E a birthday card in the following terms: "Hi E, I hope you are happy and well.  I didn't put you where you are.  M told social services I put you in a cupboard.  And H hits F.  What a load of rubbish.  I know you didn't say this.  You know I wouldn't hurt you and H wouldn't hurt me.  We miss you so much.  Hope to see you soon.  We think about you all the time.  Love F, I and H."

39. On 15 October, the safeguarding adults investigation was completed.  The report reached the following conclusion:

"after reviewing the evidence gathered, it is considered that on the balance of probabilities E may have been locked in the cupboard sometime and inappropriate methods of managing his behaviour may have been used.  However, we are unable to ascertain with certainty when, where or who perpetrated this abuse.  Therefore the outcome of this investigation is inconclusive.  A best interest decision needs to be made in relation to where E lives and future care provided. This will be held shortly.  E is currently in a short term placement and if agreed could become long term.  The local authority is currently of the view that E should remain in 24-hour supported accommodation.  Following a best interests decision regarding provision of future care, a full safeguarding protection plan will need to be implemented." 

The report further notes: "F's continued registration as an adult placement carer will need to be determined by their procedures."  F was informed of the outcome of the investigation by letter dated 23 October.  She was also advised by the police that they would be taking no further action. 

40. On 21 October, a core assessment was completed in respect of E.  It stated inter alia:

"in the time since June, E has made good progress in the structured 24 hour setting, provided at X Ltd.  A clear reduction in incidents has been noted.  E appears very settled and is living with two other young men of similar abilities.  He has been engaging in a number of new activities.  It is clear that E responds well to the structure and strategies provided by a complex behaviour service.  School have also noticed significant progress in that E is now more able to eat in the main dining room and has been participating in activities off site with the rest of his class.  Without the ongoing support of such an organisation it is more than likely that E's challenging behaviours will escalate.  Following the period of assessment in the V Unit and X Ltd and in light of this assessment, it is considered that E should be supported by a suitably qualified and experienced regular staff team, who use consistent approaches.  Staff should be able to implement structured activities and appropriate strategies when working with someone with traits that are usually associated with an autistic spectrum disorder.  Any identified care provider should have clear policies, procedures and training programmes including strategies for non physical interventions as well as physical interventions.  Staff should also have access to a 24-hour on call system, should they require additional advice or support in providing care for E."

41. The core assessment identifies the following area of concern: "E is a very vulnerable young man… E needs to be supported by a provider who has appropriate training in physical interventions.  These should be used in accordance with the agreed policies and procedures, when the risks to self or others warrant such intervention."

42. On 21 October, the local authority wrote to the solicitors acting for G and F informing them that a best interests meeting would shortly be arranged to which G would be invited.  It was also stated that the local authority would be recommending that E remain in his current placement "because there is now overwhelming evidence that an adult placement cannot meet E's highly complex care needs."

43. On 29 October, a report from X Ltd drew attention to a significant improvement in E's behaviour at school since his placement at Z Road and to the good relations between E, other residents and the staff at the unit which was said to have improved his self esteem.  E was said to have improved his communication, thanks to the help of a speech and language therapist and as a result was better able to assert himself with other residents and staff.  There was also said to be an improvement in his personal care skills and some improvements in his ability to gain a level of independence.  It was also said there had been an improvement in his challenging behaviour. However, a risk assessment carried out on 1 November concluded that the probability of a recurrence of his aggressive behaviour was high and highlighted strategies to deal with this risk.

44. On 13 November, this application to the Court of Protection was issued on behalf of G seeking the relief recited in paragraph 2 above.  Directions were given by District Judge Rogers on the same day.  In a letter dated 18 November in response to the court application, the solicitor for the local authority stated: "as E is not in registered care, the deprivation of liberty safeguards do not apply and therefore no authorisation is necessary."

45. Meanwhile, there had been an increase in the number of incidents of challenging behaviour at Z Road by E.  This included urinating on the bedroom floor, removing his pad and refusing to put on his clothes and pushing his carer, and striking a care worker. 

46. On 25 November, a best interests meeting concerning E was held.  G had intended to attend the meeting but in the event was unable to do so.  The minutes of the meeting record the following recommendations: "(a) it is in E's best interests that he remains in a 24 hour residential setting; (b) due to his complex needs, adult placement is not in E's best interest at this stage; (c) it is in E's best interest to have contact with his adult placement carer and her family.  This needs to be structured, consistent, supervised and at an appropriate venue".  The minutes also record that the IMCA had "stated that X Ltd was exempt from deprivation of liberty safeguards due to a gap in the legislation and that she had written to the Secretary of State about the wider issue. [Mr Y] didn't think that DOLS applied in this case".

47. On 8 December, the proceedings came before Ryder J. for directions. The Official Solicitor was appointed to act as E's litigation friend.  The order also contained the following recital and declaration:

"UPON IT BEING NOTED THAT THE COURT HEARD NO ARGUMENT AND MADE NO FINDINGS ON THE ISSUES OF DEPRIVATION OF LIBERTY AND BEST INTERESTS AND MADE THIS ORDER AS A RESULT OF THE PROVISIONAL AGREEMENT OF THE PARTIES IT IS DECLARED IN THE INTERIM THAT

… (3) on the information presently available to the court E lacks the capacity to (a) litigate (b) make decisions regarding his residence (c) make decisions regarding his care (d) make decisions regarding his contact with others and

(4) that pending determination of the hearing of the interim issue of residence, listed for hearing in January 2009 [sic], (or such other date as the interim issue is determined) it is in E's best interest to continue to reside at his current address at Z Road…. The need if any for orders authorising deprivation of liberty shall be considered by the court at the hearing [in January] and

(5) [that] it is lawful and in E's best interests to have contact with G and F." 

The learned judge gave further directions for disclosure of documents, the instruction of an independent psychiatrist to investigate inter alia E's capacity to litigate and his best interests in respect of care, residence, and contact, and further authorised the instruction of an independent social worker to advise on E's best interests. 

48. On 1 December, an assessment of E's capacity and best interests was carried out by a psychologist and speech language therapist.  It concluded that E did not have sufficient capacity to decide where he should live and confirmed by reference to the minutes of the best interests meeting that 24-hour care was appropriate as opposed to an adult placement.

49. On 9 December, G visited E at Z Road.  The visit was a success. F had contact with E on 13 December and thereafter E made a number of comments on successive days about how he was missing F. Subsequently, there has been further contact between E and G and between E and F. 

50. There was a further series of hearings before Ryder J about the issue of Christmas contact.  In the event, there was insufficient time to hear that application but agreed contact took place over Christmas.  Further directions were given by the learned judge. 

51. On 10 January, Mr Read, the ISW, filed his report.  He expressed the view that E was unlawfully deprived of his liberty by the arrangements made by the local authority by placing E at the V Unit and Z Road.  So far as I can see, Mr Read was the first professional to appreciate that there had been an unlawful deprivation of liberty. Up to that point, the issue had been raised only to be dismissed without any real consideration.  As will become clear, I agree with Mr Read's analysis of the law.

THE LAW
ECHR

52. The starting point for any discussion of the legal principles arising in this case is the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, incorporated into our law following the implementation of the Human Rights Act 1998, and in particular Articles 5 and 8. Although well known, it is useful to set out the provisions of these Articles in full.

53. Article 5, headed "Right to Liberty and Security", provides as follows.

1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.   No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:

(a) the lawful detention of a person after conviction by a competent court;

(b) the lawful arrest or detention of a person for non-compliance with the lawful order of a court or in order to secure the fulfilment of any obligation prescribed by law;

(c) the lawful arrest of detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so;

(d) the detention of a minor by lawful order for the purpose of educational supervision of his lawful detention for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority;

(e) the lawful detention of persons for the prevention of the spreading of infectious diseases, of persons of unsound mind, alcoholics or drugs addicts or vagrants;

(f) the lawful arrest or detention of a person to prevent his effecting an unauthorised entry into the country or of a person against whom action is being taken with a view to deportation or extradition.

2. Everyone who is arrested shall be informed promptly, in a language which he understands, of the reasons for his arrest and of any charge against him.

3. Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1(c) of this Article shall be brought promptly before a Judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial.   Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.

4. Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful.

5. Everyone who has been the victim of arrest or detention in contravention of the provisions of this Article shall have an enforceable right to compensation."

Article 8, entitled "Right to Respect for Private and Family Life", provides:

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others"

The inherent jurisdiction
54. For the last twenty years, the High Court has exercised a jurisdiction to grant whatever relief in declaratory form is necessary to safeguard and promote the vulnerable adult's welfare and interests. The history of the development of that jurisdiction, starting with the decision of the House of Lords in Re F (Mental Patient: Sterilisation) [1990] 2 AC 1, is traced by Munby J. (as he then was) in Re SA  (Vulnerable Adult with Capacity: Marriage)  [2005] EWHC 2941 (Fam) [2006] 1 FLR 86. As Munby J. observed in that case, the jurisdiction "is, in substance and reality … [and] for all practical purposes indistinguishable from its well-established parens patriae or wardship jurisdictions in relation to children". In exercising that jurisdiction, it is, in the words of Munby J. in  Re SA,  repeated in Re PS (Incapacitated or Vulnerable Adult) [2007] EWHC 623 (Fam), [2007] 2 FLR 1083 "elementary that the court exercises its powers by reference to the incompetent adult's best interests".

55. In Re PS Munby J. considered an application under the inherent jurisdiction in respect of an elderly woman whose daughter was proposing to discharge her from hospital into her own care rather than to a residential unit where she had lived for some months and which had been agreed at a meeting convened by the local authority attended by the daughter as suitable to meet her needs. Munby J. stated that it was "quite clear that a judge exercising the inherent jurisdiction … has power to direct that … the adult in question shall be placed in a specified institution … and  … that the court's powers extend to authorizing that person's detention in such a place and the use of reasonable force (if necessary) to detain him" (paragraph 16). However, "detention … will inevitably involve a 'deprivation of liberty' as that expression is used in Article 5" and "[s]ince the court is a public authority for this purpose (see s. 6(3)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998), any exercise of its inherent jurisdiction must … be compatible with the various requirements of Article 5" (paragraph 18). Consequently, in cases of the type with which he was concerned in PS,

"the following minimum requirements must be satisfied in order to comply with Article 5: (i) The detention must be authorized by the court on application made by the local authority and before the detention commences. (ii) Subject to the exigencies of urgency or emergency the evidence must establish unsoundness of mind of a kind or degree warranting compulsory confinement. In other words, there must be evidence establishing at least a prima facie case that the individual lacks capacity and that confinement of the nature proposed is appropriate. (iii) Any order authorizing detention must contain provision for an adequate review at reasonable intervals, in particular with a view to ascertaining whether there still persists unsoundness of mind of a kind or degree to warrant compulsory confinement" (paragraph 23).

He also observed that considerations borne in mind in cases under the inherent jurisdiction concerning the detention of children were applicable mutatis mutandis when deciding whether to make such orders in respect of incapacitated or vulnerable adult. These considerations included: (i) that the regime proposed should accord with expert opinion, (ii) that the degree of force authorized should be the minimum required, (iii) that a maximum period of detention should be specified, and (iv) that dates should be fixed for the further review of the matter by the court.

56. Munby J's analysis is drawn to a considerable extent from the leading European case of Winterwerp v The Netherlands (1979-80) 2 EHRR 387. In that decision, the European Court held that except in emergencies, depriving the liberty of someone of unsound mind can only be lawful under Article 5(1)(e) if three minimal conditions are satisfied – (1) the authority responsible for the deprivation of liberty must establish through objective medical expertise that the person is of unsound mind; (2) it must be established that the mental disorder is a kind or degree warranting compulsory confinement; (3) the validity of continued confinement depends upon the persistence of mental disorder.

57. In 2005, Parliament enacted the Mental Capacity Act ("the MCA") designed to provide a statutory regime for the protection of persons with mental incapacity (as opposed to mental disorder, in respect of whom there was already a statutory regime in place under the Mental Health Act 1983.) The MCA contained provisions, inter alia, for lasting powers of attorney, a new official called the Public Guardian, and a reformed Court of Protection entrusted with the responsibility of making decisions on behalf of persons who lack capacity concerning their personal welfare, property and affairs. Around the time the MCA was enacted, however, a decision of the European Court of Human Rights necessitated further significant reform.

The Bournewood Gap
58. In R v. Bournewood Community and Mental Health NHS Trust, ex parte L (Secretary of State for Health and others intervening) [1998] UKHL 24, [1999] AC 458, a man (HL) was admitted to hospital and retained there against the wishes of his carers, without the health care professionals using their statutory powers of detention under the Mental Health Act 1983. The House of Lords held that under the common law doctrine of necessity there was power to detain and restrain patients who lack capacity and where detention was necessary in their own best interests. In his speech, however, Lord Steyn identified the existence of a lacuna, which has come to be known as "the Bournewood Gap". "The common law principle of necessity is a useful concept but it contains none of the safeguards of the 1983 Act. It places effective and unqualified control in the hands of the hospital psychiatrists... [N]either habeas corpus nor judicial review are sufficient safeguards against misjudgements and professional lapses in the case of compliant incapacitated patients." HL's carers applied to the ECtHR, which held that HL had been deprived of his liberty and that there had been a breach of Article 5(4) in that the use by the doctor of the common law doctrine of necessity, instead of statutory powers to detain, did not meet the requirement in Article 5(1)(e) that such a detention must be carried out in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law: see HL v The United Kingdom (2004) 40 EHRR 761. As pointed out by Mr. Neil Allen, counsel for F in this case, in a helpful and interesting article "Restricting movement or depriving of liberty?" (Journal of Mental Health Law, Spring 2009, p19-32), the key issue was whether the detention was arbitrary. There was no procedure requiring medical or other assessments to justify the admission or subsequent detention.

59. As a result of the decision in HL, the government decided to plug the Bournewood Gap by inserting into the new MCA (via a further statute, the Mental Health Act 2007) a complex new procedure to avoid such arbitrariness.

The MCA and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
60. The major change introduced by the 2007 amendments was the so-called Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards ("DOLS"), a title clearly derived from Article 5 of ECHR. This procedure is set out in a new Schedule A1 (entitled "Hospital and Care Home Residents: Deprivation of Liberty") added to the MCA and consisting of no fewer than 188 paragraphs. In addition, further amendments extended and adjusted the powers of the Court of Protection in respect of cases involving deprivation of liberty. For the purposes of this judgment, it is only necessary to cite relatively few provisions from the MCA as now amended.

61. S. 1 sets out the basic principles underpinning the MCA. S.1(2) provides that "a person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that he lacks capacity". S.1(5) provides that "an act done, or decision made, under this Act for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done, or made, in his best interests". S1(6) states that "before the act is done, or the decision is made, regard must be had to whether the purpose for which it is needed can be as effectively achieved in a way that is less restrictive of the person's rights and freedom of action". S.2(1) provides that "for the purposes of this Act, a person lacks capacity in relation to a matter if at the material time he is unable to make a decision for himself in relation to the matter because of an impairment of, or a disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain".

62. S.4 sets out the criteria for a best interests decision.

"(1) In determining for the purposes of this Act what is in a person's best interests, the person making the determination must not make it merely on the basis of  -

(a) the person's  age or appearance, or

(b) a condition of his, or an aspect of his behaviour, which might lead others to make unjustified assumptions about what might be in his best interests.

(2) The person making the determination must consider all the relevant circumstances and, in particular, take the following steps.

(3) He must consider -

(a) whether it is likely that the person will at some time have capacity in relation to the matter in question, and

(b) if it appears likely that he will, when that is likely to be.

(4) He must, so far as reasonably practicable, permit and encourage the person to participate, or to improve his ability to participate, as fully as possible in any act done for him and any decision affecting him.
….
(6) He must consider, so far as is reasonably ascertainable -

(a) the person's past and present wishes and feelings (and, in particular, any relevant written statement made by him when he had capacity),

(b) the beliefs and values that would be likely to influence his decision if he had capacity, and

(c) the other factors that he would be likely to consider if he were able to do so.

(7) He must take into account, if it is practicable and appropriate to consult them, the views of -

(a) anyone named by the person as someone to be consulted on the matter in question or on matters of that kind,

(b) anyone engaged in caring for the person or interested in his welfare,

(c) any donee of a lasting power of attorney granted by the person, and

(d) any deputy appointed for the person by the court, as to what would be in the person's best interests and, in particular, as to the matters mentioned in sub-section (6).

(8) The duties imposed by sub-sections (1) to (7) also apply in relation to the exercise of any powers which -

(a) are exercisable under a lasting power of attorney, or

(b) are exercisable by a person under this Act where he reasonably believes that another person lacks capacity.

(9) In the case of an act done, or a decision made, by a person other than the Court, there is sufficient compliance with this section if (having complied with the requirements of sub-sections (1) to (7) he reasonably believes that what he does or decides is in the best interests of the person concerned.
….
(11) 'Relevant circumstances' are those -

(a) of which the person making the determination is aware, and

(b) which it would be reasonable to regard as relevant."

63. S.4A, entitled "Restriction on deprivation of liberty", provides:

"(1)  This Act does not authorise any person ("D") to deprive any other person ("P") of his liberty.

(2)  But that is subject to– 

(a) the following provisions of this section, and

(b) section 4B [concerning life-sustaining treatment].

(3)  D may deprive P of his liberty if, by doing so, D is giving effect to a relevant decision of the court.

(4)  A relevant decision of the court is a decision made by an order under section 16(2)(a) in relation to a matter concerning P's personal welfare.

(5)  D may deprive P of his liberty if the deprivation is authorised by Schedule A1 (hospital and care home residents: deprivation of liberty)."

64. S.15(1) provides that the Court may make declarations as to (a) whether a person has or lacks capacity to make a decision specified in the declaration; (b) whether a person has or lacks capacity to make decisions on such matters as are described in the declaration, and (c) the lawfulness or otherwise of any act done, or yet to be done, in relation to that person. S.15(2) provides that "act" includes an omission and a course of conduct.

65. S. 16, entitled "Powers to make decisions and appoint deputies: general", provides as follows:

"(1) This section applies if a person ('P') lacks capacity in relation to a matter or matters concerning:

(a) P's personal welfare, or

(b) P's property and affairs.

(2) The Court may –

(a) by making an order, make the decision or decisions on P's behalf in relation to the matter or matters,

(b) appoint a person (a 'deputy') to make decisions on P's behalf in relation to the matter or matters.

(3) The powers of the Court under this section are subject to the provisions of this Act and, in particular, to sections 1 (the principles) and 4 (best interests).

(4) When deciding whether it is in P's best interests to appoint a deputy, the Court must have regard (in addition to the matters mentioned in section 4) to the principles that:

(a) a decision by the Court is to be preferred to the appointment of a deputy to make a decision; and

(b) the powers conferred on a deputy should be as limited in scope and duration as is reasonably practicable in the circumstances.

(5) The Court may make such further orders or give such directions and confer on a deputy such powers or impose on him such duties, as it thinks necessary or expedient for giving effect to, or otherwise in connection with, an order or appointment made by it under subsection (2).

(6) Without prejudice to section 4, the Court may make the order, give the directions or make the appointment on such terms as it considers are in P's best interests, even though no application is before the Court for an order, directions or an appointment on those terms.

(7) An order of the Court may be varied or discharged by a subsequent order.
  …."

66. Under s.16A(1), "if a person is ineligible to be deprived of liberty by this Act, the court may not include in a welfare order provision which authorises the person to be deprived. S.16A(4)(a) provides that, for the purposes of that section, Schedule 1A [not to be confused with Schedule A1] applies for determining whether or not P is ineligible to be deprived of liberty. Schedule 1A makes ineligible certain categories of mental health patient. It is agreed that E does not fall into any of those categories. S.17 provides that the powers under s.16 as respects P's personal welfare extend in particular to, inter alia, "(a) deciding where P is to live and (b) deciding what contact, if any, P is to have with any specified person."

67. S. 48 gives the Court the power to make an interim order by providing "the Court may, pending the determination of an application to it in relation to a person ('P'),  make an order or give directions in respect of any matter if (a) there is reason to believe that P lacks capacity in relation to the matter, (b) the matter is one to which its powers under this Act extend, and (c) it is in P's best interests to make the order, or give the directions, without delay".

68. Of the 188 paragraphs in Schedule A1, only the following paragraphs (relating to authorisation to deprive hospital and care home residents of liberty) are relevant to this case. Under paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part 1, the managing authority of the hospital or care home may deprive a person ("P") of his liberty by detaining him if three conditions are satisfied - that P is detained in a hospital or care home, for the purpose of being given care or treatment, in circumstances which amount to deprivation of liberty; that a standard or urgent authorisation is in force; and that that authorisation relates to P and the hospital or care home in which he is detained. For these purposes, paragraph 178 provides that "care home" has the meaning given by s 3 of the Care Standards Act 2000, namely an establishment that provides accommodation, together with nursing or personal care, for persons who, for example, are ill, mentally disordered or disabled. Part 3 (paragraphs 12 to 20) identifies six "qualifying requirements" that have to be met for standard authorisations, namely the age requirement, the mental health requirement, the mental capacity requirement, the best interests requirement, the eligibility requirement, and the "no refusals" requirement. The age requirement is met if P is aged 18. The mental health requirement is met if P is suffering from a mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983 but disregarding any exclusion for persons with learning disability. The mental capacity requirement is met if P lacks capacity in relation to the question whether or not he should be accommodated in the relevant hospital or care home for the purpose of having the relevant care or treatment. The best interests requirement is met if the following conditions are satisfied – that P is, or is to be, a detained resident; that it is in P's best interests to be a detained resident; that in order to prevent harm to P, it is necessary for him to be a detained resident; and that for him to be a detained resident is a proportionate response to the likelihood of P suffering harm and the seriousness of that harm. The eligibility requirement is met unless P is ineligible to be deprived of liberty under Schedule 1A.  The no refusals requirement is met unless P has made a relevant and valid advance decision declining some or all of the relevant care or treatment. Part 4 of the Schedule provides the procedure for requesting and giving a standard authorisation, including in paragraphs 38 to 45 provisions for an assessment whether P meets the best interests requirement. Part 5 provides the procedure for an urgent authorisation.

69. Part 8 governs the review of standard authorisations. In GJ v A Foundation Trust [2009] EWHC 2972 (Fam), Charles J. observed that these statutory provisions for review of standard authorisations were matters that the Court of Protection should take into account in determining whether it should make an order authorising the deprivation of P's liberty, and if so the extent and period of such an authorisation having regard to the authorities relating to the need for review of a deprivation of liberty based on the exercise of the inherent jurisdiction, in particular the decisions of Munby J. in Re PS (supra) and DE v JE and Surrey CC [2006] EWHC 3459 (Fam), [2007] 2 FLR 1150.

70. The powers of the Court in relation to Schedule A1 are set out earlier in the Act at s.21A:

"(1)  This section applies if either of the following has been given under Schedule A1– 

(a) a standard authorisation;
(b) an urgent authorisation.

(2)  Where a standard authorisation has been given, the court may determine any question relating to any of the following matters– 

(a) whether the relevant person meets one or more of the qualifying requirements;

(b) the period during which the standard authorisation is to be in force;

(c) the purpose for which the standard authorisation is given;

(d) the conditions subject to which the standard authorisation is given.

(3)  If the court determines any question under subsection (2), the court may make an order– 

(a) varying or terminating the standard authorisation, or

(b) directing the supervisory body to vary or terminate the standard authorisation.

(4)  Where an urgent authorisation has been given, the court may determine any question relating to any of the following matters– 

(a) whether the urgent authorisation should have been given;

(b) the period during which the urgent authorisation is to be in force;

(c) the purpose for which the urgent authorisation is given.

(5)  Where the court determines any question under subsection (4), the court may make an order– 

(a) varying or terminating the urgent authorisation, or

(b) directing the managing authority of the relevant hospital or care home to vary or terminate the urgent authorisation.

(6)  Where the court makes an order under subsection (3) or (5), the court may make an order about a person's liability for any act done in connection with the standard or urgent authorisation before its variation or termination.

(7)  An order under subsection (6) may, in particular, exclude a person from liability."

71. S.64(5) provides that references to "deprivation of liberty" in the MCA have the same meaning as in Article 5(1) of ECHR. Paragraph 64(6) provides that for the purposes of such references it does not matter whether P is deprived of his liberty by a public authority or not.

72. Guidance on the MCA is set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice which in turn has been supplemented by the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Code of Practice 2008. Paragraph 5.13 of the main MCA Code of Practice sets out a checklist of factors that need to be taken into account in working out what is in a person's best interests. Paragraph 4.61 of the 2008 Code inserts into that checklist additional factors that apply when considering interests around deprivation of liberty, namely (i) whether any harm to the person could arise if the deprivation of liberty does not take place (ii) what that harm would be (iii) how likely that harm is to arise (i.e. is the level of risk sufficient to justify a step as serious as depriving a person of liberty?) (iv) what other care options there are which could avoid deprivation of liberty, and (v) if deprivation of liberty is currently unavoidable, what action could be taken to avoid it in future.

73. The passing of these substantial amendments to the MCA, and the introduction of a comprehensive statutory regime for the authorization and control of placements that amount to a deprivation of liberty, means that the Court's protective inherent jurisdiction has been substantially superseded. In GJ v A Foundation Trust [2009] EWHC 2972 (Fam), Charles J identified one of the jurisdictional issues remaining unresolved as "what, if any, inherent jurisdiction the Court of Protection has and whether the High Court retains its inherent jurisdiction in this area or whether it has been suspended by the MCA" (paragraph 23). Manifestly, however, there are decisions under that jurisdiction which contain guidance that assists in the interpretation and application of the new statutory powers, in particular their compliance with Article 5. In addition, the statutory regime, although comprehensive, does not address every issue, and so it is arguable, as Mr. Allen submits, that where the MCA cannot provide an answer, the Court of Protection should draw upon the principles established under the inherent jurisdiction.

74. So far as best interests are concerned, Mr. Allen drew my attention to two important recent judgments of Munby J. As to the factors taken into account when assessing best interests, Munby J. made the following observations in ITW v Z and others [2009] EWHC 2525 at paragraph 32:

"The first is that the statute lays down no hierarchy as between the various factors which have to be borne in mind, beyond the overarching principle that what is determinative is the judicial evaluation of what is in P's "best interests". The second is that the weight to be attached to the various factors will, inevitably, differ depending upon the individual circumstances of the particular case. A feature or factor which in one case may carry great,  possibly even preponderant, weight may in another, superficially similar, case carry much less, or even very little, weight. The third, following on from the others, is that there may, in the particular case, be one or more features or factors which ... are of 'magnetic importance' in influencing or even determining the outcome ..."

Secondly, in what Mr. Allen describes as "a particularly telling passage" in Re MM (An Adult) [2007] EWHC 2003 (Fam), [2009] 1 FLR 443, at paragraph 120, Munby J. observed:

"The fact is that all life involves risk, and the young, the elderly and the vulnerable, are exposed to additional risks and to risks they are less well equipped than others to cope with. But just as wise parents resist the temptation to keep their children metaphorically wrapped up in cotton wool, so too we must avoid the temptation always to put the physical health and safety of the elderly and the vulnerable before everything else. Often it will be appropriate to do so, but not always. Physical health and safety can sometimes be bought at too high a price in happiness and emotional welfare. The emphasis must be on sensible risk appraisal, not striving to avoid all risk, whatever the price, but instead seeking a proper balance and being willing to tolerate manageable or acceptable risks as the price appropriately to be paid in order to achieve some other good - in particular to achieve the vital good of the elderly or vulnerable person's happiness. What good is it making someone safer if it merely makes them miserable?"

75. So much for the basic legal framework. The lengthy submissions presented to me raise a number of legal points to which I now turn.

LEGAL ISSUES ARISING IN THIS HEARING
Does E lack capacity?

76. On this crucial point there is complete agreement between the parties. It is accepted by all parties, including the Official Solicitor representing E, that the disabilities which he experiences as a result of his condition of tuberous sclerosis, in particular profound learning difficulties, deprive him of the capacity to make decisions about his life, such as where he should live. It is important to stress that E does have wishes and feelings which the court must take into account as part of any best interests assessment, and that he has a right to be consulted about decisions concerning him. These factors are important features of his personal autonomy protected by Article 8.  But for the purposes of this case, I am satisfied that E lacks capacity within the meaning of s.2(1) of the MCA.

Has E been deprived of his liberty at the V Unit and Z Road?
77. As s.64(5) provides that references to "deprivation of liberty" in the MCA have the same meaning as in Article 5(1) of ECHR, any analysis of whether E has been in fact deprived of his liberty must have close regard to the jurisprudence of the European Court and of English courts on the interpretation of that Article. That jurisprudence makes clear that when determining whether there is a "deprivation of liberty" within the meaning of Article 5, three conditions must be satisfied, namely (1) an objective element of a person's confinement in a particular restricted space for a not negligible time; (2) a subjective element, namely that the person has not validly consented to the confinement in question, and (3) the deprivation of liberty must be one for which the State is responsible : see Storck v Germany (2005) 43 EHRR 96 and JE v DE and Surrey CC [2006] EWHC 3459 (Fam) [2007] 2 FLR 1150. When considering the objective element, the starting point is to examine the concrete situation of the individual concerned and account must be taken of a whole range of criteria such as the type, duration, effects and manner of implementation of the measure in question. The distinction between a deprivation of and a restriction of liberty is merely one of degree or intensity and not one of nature or substance: Guzzardi v Italy (1980) 3 EHRR 333; Storck v Germany (supra). The key factor is whether the person is, or is not, free to leave. This may be tested by determining whether those treating and managing the person exercise complete and effective control over the person's care and movements: HL v United Kingdom (supra). So far as the subjective element is concerned, whilst there is no deprivation of liberty if a person gives a valid consent to their confinement, such consent can only be valid if the person has capacity to give it: Storck v Germany (supra). So far as the third element is concerned, regardless of whether the confinement is effected by a private individual or institution, it is necessary to show that it is imputable to the State. This may happen by the direct involvement of public authorities or by order of the court.

78. Mr. Y, the manager of X Ltd, did not accept that his organisation was depriving E of his liberty. He thought he was improving his quality of life, and he may well be right. In my judgment, however, the current care provision for E undoubtedly deprives him of his liberty. Staff at Z Road exercise what the Official Solicitor describes as complete control over E's care and movements, and over assessments, treatment, contacts and residence. As Mr. Allen points out, the concrete situation is that E is currently confined to Z Road except when he is escorted to school or on visits or activities, and has no space or possession that is private or safe from interference or examination. Miss Street, counsel for the Official Solicitor, observed that E is unable to maintain social contacts because of restrictions placed on access to other people, including family members, and a decision has been made by the local authority that he will not be released into the care of others, or permitted to live elsewhere, unless such a move is considered appropriate. In assessing whether he is at liberty, it is also important to note that E has been prescribed Haloperidol, a neuroleptic medication, to reduce his agitation and more challenging behaviour. He has no control over the administration of that medication.

79. In those circumstances, it is not disputed by the local authority that E has been deprived of his liberty while at the V Unit and Z Road. I agree.

Was that deprivation a breach of Article5?
80. Here again, since s.64(5) provides that references to "deprivation of liberty" in the MCA are to have the same meaning as in Article 5(1) of ECHR, consideration of whether the deprivation of E's liberty was lawful must have close regard to the European jurisprudence.

81. It is a cardinal feature of Article 5 that "no one shall be deprived of his liberty save … in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law". The removal of E from F's care was an arbitrary act. There was no attempt to follow the legal procedure of urgent and standard authorisations which had become law only a few days earlier. All parties now agree that in the absence of any authorisation under Schedule A1 of the MCA, or any order of the Court under that Act, E was unlawfully deprived of his liberty when placed at the V Unit and Z Road. In particular, the local authority now accepts that significant mistakes were made in this matter. It failed to recognise that E's placement in the V Unit amounted to a deprivation of liberty to which the DOLS applied. Furthermore, it failed to recognise that the placement at Z Road constitutes a deprivation of liberty and that it should have sought approval from the Court under s.16 before it occurred. It must be noted, however, that the local authority took a very long time to acknowledge these grievous errors. The solicitors' correspondence reveals that the authority was maintaining that DOLS did not apply in this case up to and beyond the start of these proceedings. I suspect that it was only when they read the analysis set out in Mr. Read's report that they realised their mistake. In fairness, I should record that little if any blame attaches to Miss T. In evidence, she told me about the paucity of training she had received on the MCA. Although she has requested training from her employers on the DOLS procedures, (which, it will be recalled, are set out in a schedule running to 188 paragraphs plus a Code of Practice), she has yet to receive it. The responsibility for the blatant errors that occurred in this case clearly lies higher up the line of management.

82. I therefore hold that by removing E from F's care, placing him at the V Unit and then moving him to Z Road without complying with the procedures laid down in the MCA, either the DOLS procedure in Schedule A1 or an application to the court under ss 16 and 48, the local authority infringed E's rights under Article 5 ECHR. The Official Solicitor seeks a declaration to this effect on E's behalf under MCA s15(1)(c).

Did the local authority infringe E's Article 8 rights?
83. Article 8 guarantees, inter alia, "respect for" private life, family life, and one's home.  Whether or not "family life" exists depends upon the facts and the real existence of close personal ties: K and T v Finland (2001) 36 EHRR 255, [2001] 2 FLR 707. In the words of Munby J. in Sheffield City Council v S [2002] EWHC 2278, "in our multi-cultural and pluralistic society the family takes many forms … The fact is that many adults and children, whether through choice or circumstance, live in families more or less removed from what until comparatively recently would have been recognised as the typical nuclear family. But – and this is the point - the family, whatever form it takes, is the bedrock of our society and the foundation of our way of life." It is well established that relationships between children and foster parents or carers fall within the definition of "family" within the meaning of Article 8: Gaskin v United Kingdom (1990) 12 EHRR 36, and such a relationship does not come to an end when a child reaches the age of majority: Sheffield City Council v S  (supra).

84. There is, as Miss Irving QC and Mr. Mackley readily concede on behalf of the local authority, no evidence that, at the time E was removed on 7 April 2009, there was any sort of balancing exercise performed of the positives and negatives of that removal and, in particular, the impact upon him of the disruption to his family life. He had been with F for many years and undoubtedly this should have been considered before making any decision to remove. The local authority adhere to the position that his removal at that stage was justified, given the concerns that had been raised by the educational psychologist and the further incidents that came to light during Miss T's conversations with F, but it recognises that in reaching the decision whether or not to remove him, consideration should have been given to all matters, including the effect of removing him from his home and settled family life. Had the local authority carried out a best interests analysis at that stage, proper consideration would, or should, have been given to those matters. In fact, during the currency of the safeguarding investigation, a number of meetings took place during the investigation which could arguably be construed as best interests meetings but were not regarded as such. Somewhat surprisingly, the team manager in the adult placement team, Miss A, told me in evidence that she thought it was considered in all the documents that E had a family life with F. She insisted that this had been taken into consideration. Miss Bretherton, counsel for G, drew her attention to a letter dated 14 July from the local authority to F's solicitors in which it was asserted: "whilst we appreciate that your client may have developed a positive and strong relationship with E over the past ten years, she is not a family member and she was financially remunerated for the services she provided to E".  Miss A conceded that this is "not how I would have put it".

85. Notwithstanding Miss A's evidence, the local authority through counsel accept that at none of those meetings was any proper comprehensive welfare analysis carried out. Had that happened, it ought to have recognised the ongoing disruption to E's family life. There was, in my judgment, a deplorable failure to take into account the close relationship between E and F, the need to sustain that relationship, and a consequent failure to arrange any contact for several months between this vulnerable young man and the person who had been his carer – his mother-figure – for most of his life.

86. On behalf of the Official Solicitor representing E, Miss Street makes an even stronger submission. Given the circumstances that pertained on 7 April, she contends that it is likely that, if properly handled by the local authority, the matter would have come to this Court at an early stage. Either the local authority would have given an authorisation under DOLS which F would have challenged in accordance with the procedure under the MCA or the local authority, realising the difficulties of the case, would itself have applied to the Court at the outset for an order under s.16. Miss Street submits that, had the matter been referred to the Court before the removal, it is likely that E would not have been removed from F's pending the investigation. The local authority felt, however, that it was appropriate to move E to an emergency respite facility given safeguarding concerns that had been raised by the school and the educational psychologist, and in the opinion of Mr. Read, the independent social worker, this was an appropriate action for the authority to take while the safeguarding investigation took place. I think it is difficult to say at this distance whether or not this Court, faced with the allegations as they were known immediately after 7 April, would have sanctioned E's removal from F's care. There is, however, a significant chance that it would have refused to do so.

87. Furthermore, Article 8 imposes a positive obligation on the state to adopt policies that are affirmatively designed to secure a private life among private citizens: X and Y v The Netherlands (1986) 8 EHRR 235, Marckx v Belgium (1979-80) 2 EHRR 330. It is well established in children's law that Article 8 affords families who are involved in care proceedings or the subject of care orders not merely substantive protection against any inappropriate interference with their family life but also what Munby J. in Re G (Care : Challenge to Local Authority's Decision) [2003] 2 FLR 42 at paragraph 30 described as "significant procedural safeguards".  In W v UK (1988) 10 EHRR 29, the European Court articulated what Munby J. in Re G characterised as "the fundamental rule", namely that "[t]he decision-making process must … be such as to secure that [the parents'] views and interests are made known to and duly taken into account by the local authority and that they are able to exercise  in due time any remedies available to them …. [W]hat therefore has to be determined is whether, having regard to the particular circumstances of the case and notably the serious nature of the decisions to be taken, the parents have been involved in the decision-making process, seen as a whole, to a degree sufficient to provide them with the requisite protection of their interests. If they have not, there will have been a failure to respect their family life and the interference resulting from the decision will not be capable of being regarded as 'necessary' within the meaning of article 8". As Munby J. has said, in Re L (Care : Assessment : Fair Trial) [2002] 2 FLR 730  (at paragraph 88) and again in Re G (at paragraph 35), in relation to the procedural requirements imposed by Article 8, the protection afforded is not confined to unfairness in the trial process but extends to guarantee fairness at all stages of child protection.

88. In my judgment, precisely the same principles apply in cases concerning incapacitated adults. Article 8 gives the families of such adults (and by "families" I include relationships between such adults and long-term foster carers) not only substantive protection against any inappropriate interference with their family life but also procedural safeguards including the involvement of the carers in the decision-making process, seen as a whole, to a degree sufficient to provide them with the requisite protection of the families' interests. If they have not, there will have been a failure to respect the family life of the incapacitated adult (and of course the carer.)

89. There was no adequate involvement of F in the decision to remove E from her care. Furthermore, as Miss T conceded in evidence, the local authority did not ask either F or any family member for their views when the decision was taken to move E from the V Unit into Z Road.  They had no contact with G for some time, and they did not speak to F because they considered, having regard to the reports received, that E needed a placement in residential care.

90. For these reasons I find that the removal from F's care, the failure to give any or any adequate consideration to his family life with F at the time of the removal or for many months thereafter, the failure adequately to involve F in the decision-making process about E's future, and the impediments to contact between E and F for several months after his removal constituted a serious breach of his Article 8 rights. The Official Solicitor seeks a further declaration to this effect on E's behalf under MCA s15(1)(c).

91. The Official Solicitor contends that the overall consequences of the local authority's errors are threefold. First, E was removed from his home in the interim when he should not have been, without lawful authority, in breach of his procedural Article 5(1) and 8 rights, and this position was not authorised by the court for approximately 8 months.  Secondly, E was removed from home in the interim when he should not have been, in breach of his substantive Article 5(1) and 8 rights. Thirdly, to E's detriment, the decision which the Court (and the Official Solicitor in considering his position on E's behalf) faces now is more difficult and finely balanced than the decision it would have faced in April 2009. Then, submits the Official Solicitor, the evidence would not have justified an immediate move away from F. Now, the decision must take into account all the uncertain factors associated with one or more further moves. Save that I am unable to say whether or not the Court would have sanctioned the removal in April 2009, I accept the Official Solicitor's analysis. The errors perpetrated by the local authority in this case are grave and serious.

Is the continuing placement of E at Z Road unlawful?
92. There is a short further point to be considered here. Mr. Allen and Miss Bretherton submit that, as Ryder J. expressly stated in the recital to the order of 8 December that he was making no findings on the issues of deprivation of liberty or best interests, his order did not make E's ongoing detention lawful, and as a result he remains unlawfully deprived of his liberty. 

93. However, in paragraph 4 of that order, Ryder J. declared that "pending determination of the interim issue listed for hearing in January 2009 [sic], (or such other date as the interim issue is determined) it is in E's best interests to reside at his current address …." On behalf of the Official Solicitor, Miss Street submits that the effect of paragraph 4 was to make lawful E's deprivation of liberty pending the interim hearing. Under s.4A(3): "D [i.e. in this case X Ltd and / or the local authority] may deprive P [i.e. E] of his liberty if, by doing so, D is giving effect to a relevant decision of the court." Under s.4A(4), "a relevant decision of the court is a decision made by an order under section 16(2)(a) in relation to a matter concerning P's personal welfare". Under s.48, the court may, pending the determination of the application, make any order if the matter is one to which its powers under this Act extend. Paragraph 4 of Ryder J.'s order was thus, submits Miss Street, a "relevant decision of the court". Any subsequent deprivation of liberty was thus in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law, although she suggests that, as a matter of good practice, Ryder J. could have added, so it was clear on the face of the order, that any deprivation of liberty to give effect to the decision of the court was authorised by virtue of MCA s.4A(3) and (4).

94. I agree with Miss Street's submission. By virtue of paragraph 4 of Ryder J.'s order of 8 December 2009, E's subsequent deprivation of liberty has been in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law and thus not unlawful.

95. Miss Street added a submission that, notwithstanding the fact that the current deprivation is not unlawful, the fact that E is being deprived of his liberty is entirely attributable to the wrongful actions by the local authority. Thus any compensation that may hereafter be awarded to him may extend to this ongoing deprivation. I express no concluded view about this point in this judgment.

96. Before turning to the best interests assessment I have to perform, there are four further legal points that have been raised relevant to the conduct of that assessment.

Is there a threshold condition under the MCA?
97. First, I must consider an important question that arises from submissions made on behalf of G and F, namely whether the law stipulates that the Court may not entertain an application for an order under s.16 of the MCA that would have the effect of depriving a person ("P") of his liberty unless satisfied that his condition warrants compulsory confinement. In effect, it is suggested, just as s. 31 of the Children Act 1989 establishes a threshold condition that has to be satisfied before the court can consider whether to make a care or supervision order in the interests of a child's welfare, so Article 5 creates a threshold condition that has to be satisfied in deprivation of liberty cases before the court can go on to consider what order to make in P's best interests.

98. Mr. Allen submitted that the MCA does not provide the answer to whether some threshold must be satisfied before authorising the removal of an incapacitated adult from his family. He argued that this was one area where the inherent protective jurisdiction is of assistance, and pointed out that under that jurisdiction, the threshold for judicial intervention is where there is "a demonstrated need" to protect a vulnerable adult "from abuse or the real possibility of abuse": see e.g. Re MM (An Adult) [2007] EWHC 2003 (Fam). On behalf of G, Miss Bretherton submitted that Article 5 creates minimum conditions for the deprivation of liberty, and that those conditions are not met in this case. It is not accepted on behalf of G or F that the "three minimum conditions" necessary for an individual to be deprived of his liberty, as identified by Munby J. in Re PS (drawing on the decision of the ECtHR in Winterwerp, supra) were or are present here.  In particular, it is submitted that E's mental disorder is not of a kind that "warrants compulsory confinement". They submit that an assessment of best interests only arises if the threshold criteria for confinement are met. That is not a balancing exercise of what is in his best interests; it is an objective legal test which, if not met, means that he cannot be detained, pursuant to Article 5.  The effect of their submission is that the criteria for detention set out in PS amount to threshold criteria, akin to the criteria under s. 31 or 38 of the Children Act which must be satisfied before a public law order (i.e. a care order or supervision order) can be made in respect of children.

99. In seeking to persuade me that there are threshold criteria for detention which must be met before a court can go on to make a best interests order, Miss Bretherton relied on the decision of the Court of Appeal in St George's Healthcare NHS Trust v S [1998] 3 WLR 936, which concerned an admission to hospital under s.2 Mental Health Act 1983 of a heavily-pregnant woman who had refused medical treatment for eclampsia, against her will and on whom a Caesarean operation was subsequently carried out against her will after a judge had granted a declaration dispensing with her consent at an ex parte hearing. The Court of Appeal ruled that the cumulative grounds for admission under s.2(2)(a) of that Act had not been made out and that her detention under the Act had been unlawful, and allowed her appeal against the declaration dispensing with her consent. Notwithstanding the good intentions of the medical professions concerned, the reason for detention, albeit for potentially life saving medical treatment, was not related to the alleged mental disorder.  Miss Bretherton says this is relevant to the present case because the statutory test under s. 2 of the 1983 Act is "using the language of Article 5". But in making that point, she illustrates a crucial difference between the MHA 1983 and the MCA 2005 as amended. In the MHA there is a statutory threshold for any order which has the effect of depriving a person of liberty. In the MCA, there is not. The court is merely empowered under s. 16(2)(a) to make a decision in the individual's best interests, although in exercising that power it must comply with Article 5 (and the other provisions of ECHR).

100. Alternatively, Miss Bretherton submits that if the Court does have jurisdiction to hear the case without being satisfied that a threshold was crossed, it should be extremely reluctant to engage in a course of action which waives E's guaranteed Convention right under Article 5(4) to be released if the detention was unlawful and that such a course of action should be limited to the most extreme case where there can be no doubt that the detention is warranted.

101. On behalf of the Official Solicitor, Miss Street submits that, under Schedule A1, and under the DOLS Code of Practice, deprivation of liberty and best interests fall to be considered in tandem, and that the court should approach an application under s.16 or s.48 in the same way. She submitted that section 48 of the MCA is Article 5-compliant because it provides that an interim decision on the deprivation of liberty is a matter to be determined by reference to the best interests of the person concerned. Miss Street further submitted that the rights protected by Article 5 needs to be approached with "common sense".  In other words, the court cannot be required to adopt a course that is impractical.  She further submitted that the purpose of Article 5 is to protect the person in question.  Therefore, she submitted, any interpretation the law that might require the court to return that person to a situation which would not be in their best interests should be rejected.

102. I do not read the MCA in the way proposed by Mr. Allen and Miss Bretherton, nor do I consider that such a reading is a necessary construction to make the new statutory provisions comply with Article 5. The only threshold which must be crossed in order to engage the court's powers under s. 16 is that the person concerned must lack capacity in relation to matters concerning his personal welfare, or property and affairs. As Miss Street has demonstrated, any assessment of E's best interests will inevitably involve a question whether deprivation of liberty is appropriate and proportionate. In carrying out that assessment, the court must apply s. 1(6) and have regard to whether the purpose for which the proposed detention is needed can be as effectively achieved in a way that is less restrictive of the person's rights and freedom of action.

103. Furthermore, it must be borne in mind that there is no fixed and absolute concept of "deprivation of liberty". There are degrees of restriction of liberty. Someone running across an open field may be (or may appear to be) at liberty whereas someone chained to a wall would not. At a point on the spectrum, the conditions may arise which mean that P is being "deprived of his liberty" within the meaning of Article 5. But in considering whether that is appropriate and necessary, a court must have regard to all the circumstances and in the context of the MCA that means carefully scrutinising the precise form of deprivation of liberty proposed as part of the best interests assessment.

104. In any event, it should be noted that Munby J in Re PS was careful to avoid setting down a rigid threshold in cases under the inherent protective jurisdiction, holding that the second condition will be satisfied if there is "evidence establishing at least a prima facie case that the individual lacks capacity and that confinement of the nature proposed is appropriate" [emphasis added].

105. Accordingly, I hold that there is no threshold condition that the court may not entertain an application for an order under s.16 the MCA that would have the effect of depriving a person ("P") of his liberty unless satisfied that his condition warrants compulsory confinement. The proposed deprivation of liberty (which will of course vary from case to case) falls to be assessed as part of the best interests analysis.

106. Miss Bretherton further submits, relying on the dicta of Munby J in Re PS quoted above, that it is a fundamental principle that a detention must be authorised by the Court on an application made by the local authority before the detention commenced.  There was no such application in the present case and the matter has only been brought to the attention of the Court at all because the Applicant has made the present application. Miss Irving QC and Mr. Mackley submit that, whilst the Court cannot ex post facto authorise the earlier deprivation of liberty between 7 April and 8 December 2009, the failure of the local authority to make the application before the detention commenced does not deprive the Court of the power to sanction a future deprivation and render it lawful by making an order under s. 16 or s. 48 of the MCA. To decide otherwise would expose vulnerable people lacking capacity to the risk of serious abuse due to administrative failure by a public body. Such a course would, submits the local authority, defeat the purpose and principle of the protective ambit envisaged by the MCA. I agree with the local authority's submissions on this point. In my judgment, it cannot be right that the court has no jurisdiction to make a s.16(2)(a) order, or a s. 48 interim order, in respect of a person who has been detained before an application is made to the court where that detention was an unlawful deprivation of liberty. The fact that E was unlawfully removed from F's care and remained unlawfully deprived of his liberty for eight months thereafter, does not automatically result in a conclusion that he must be returned to her care now. The decision as to his future care is a matter to be determined by a best interests assessment conducted by the court under its interim powers under s.48.

Would an ongoing placement at Z Road be unlawful?
107. X Ltd. is a domiciliary agency that supports adults with a learning disability and autistic spectrum impairments who have associated challenging and complex behaviours to live with individual tenancies on a 24 hour basis.  It is owned and managed by Mr. Y who gave evidence during the hearing. The agency has been in operation since 2005 and currently supports thirteen adults across three individual homes, employing over twenty domiciliary support workers.  Mr. Y provides all the professional advice, guidance and management for risk assessments, contingency strategies, positive behaviour support plans and functional analysis for each client supported by X Ltd.

108. As stated above, the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards apply only to those detained "in a hospital or care home" for the purpose of being given care or treatment in circumstances which amount to deprivation of the person's liberty: MCA Schedule A1 para 1(2). For these purposes, "care home" has the meaning given by s 3 of the Care Standards Act 2000 ("the CSA"): MCA Schedule A1 para 178. The CSA lists establishments that are excluded from this definition. None of them apply to Z Road. Mr Allen points out that, as s.3 of the CSA provides an establishment is a care home if it provides accommodation, together with nursing or personal care, the crucial question, whether the establishment provides the accommodation together with nursing or personal care, is essentially a question of fact.

109. Mr. Y asserts that Z Road is not a care home because it is not providing the residents with accommodation. X Ltd has a lease over the property from the head landlord, and purports to grant its residents a "tenancy". A document purporting to be a tenancy agreement was indeed produced. However, Miss Bretherton astutely demonstrated that the purported "tenancy" granted by X Ltd to E is a nullity. The copy is difficult to read, but those parts that are legible give rise for some concern.  The parties are said to be X Ltd and the three residents, including E.  The agreement contains a number of standard terms.  It is dated 1 February 2009, i.e. several months before E moved into the property.  The document is signed by Mr. Y's assistant on behalf of X Ltd and by Mr. Y himself on behalf of E.  Mr. Y has witnessed his assistant's signature and she has witnessed his. 

110. Having heard evidence from Mr. Y, it seems likely that E does not in fact hold a tenancy of Z Road, or any part of the premises.  E had no capacity to enter into any agreement, and, as Miss Bretherton rightly submits, Mr. Y purported to enter into this contract on behalf of E without any or any proper authority to do so.  She further submits that the circumstances of E's occupation preclude any tenancy ever being granted, since staff have unrestricted access to his room and provide necessary services, so that there has not been, and cannot be, any grant of exclusive possession: Street v Mountford [1985] 1 AC 809. The consequence, as Miss Bretherton submits, is that E occupies Z Road by permission of X Ltd. In those circumstances, X Ltd's arrangements at Z Road constitute an "establishment" which provides both accommodation and personal care to E. Mr. Allen submits that Z Road should accordingly have been registered as a care home under CSA s.3.  As both Mr. Allen and Miss Bretherton were quick to point out, it is therefore arguable that X Ltd is unlawfully in receipt of housing benefit under the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006. They also point out that any person who carries on or manages such an establishment without so registering is prima facie guilty of a criminal offence: CSA s.11. They therefore submit that, given that no valid authorisation could be given to the placement under DOLS, the court should not make an order sanctioning a placement that is, it is contended, tainted by illegality.

111. The Official Solicitor points out that this assertion that the arrangements amount to a care home is a challenge not only to X Ltd's position but also that of the registration authority (now the Care Quality Commission) which has inspected X Ltd and written inspection reports (available online) and has not disturbed X Ltd's registration as a domiciliary care agency. The Official Solicitor acknowledges that it is difficult to see how the purported tenancy agreement between X and E and the other residents could be valid because it is signed by someone purportedly on E's behalf with no authority to do so. The inference from Miss T's evidence, however, is that the procedure adopted by X Ltd is uncontroversial and commonly repeated elsewhere.  The reason for seeking to make E a tenant was to provide him with security of tenure and thus protect him from being moved from property to property by the agency. She insisted this was a practice that happens nationally.

112. I have not heard representations from X Ltd on these matters. Miss Irving QC for the local authority drew my attention in closing submissions to an e-mail received from solicitors acting on behalf of X Ltd to the effect that their client wishes to have an opportunity to make representations if the Court is being asked to determine whether the home in Z Road is a "care home" and whether they have acted unlawfully. Consequently, I am not prepared to give any ruling at this hearing as to whether Z Road falls within the definition of "a care home" without hearing full representations from X Ltd and, perhaps, others, including the Care Quality Commission. I was unwilling to extend what is already an overlong interim hearing to allow for such argument. Clearly these issues would have to be addressed at the final hearing before the court could sanction any indefinite placement at Z Road.  That matter can, if necessary, be addressed at the final hearing fixed for July.

113. Miss Street, supported by Miss Irving QC, submitted that issues concerning X Ltd do not need to be addressed in these proceedings unless it is necessary to consider them when analysing E's best interests. The point does not need to be resolved for the purpose of the DOLS because, in making an order in E's best interests, the Court can authorise any deprivation of liberty under MCA s.16 and s.48. I agree. Trying to be pragmatic, I do not consider that these matters give rise to any likelihood that E's placement or security at Z Road will be jeopardised in the next four months. If I am wrong, the matter can be referred to me at short notice. But in those circumstances, I do not consider that the points raised by Miss Bretherton and Mr. Allen carry any significant weight in the interim best interests assessment that I am conducting at this hearing.

114. In relation to the creation of a valid tenancy agreement, the Official Solicitor submits that the court could appoint a property and affairs deputy (for example an appropriate officer of the local authority) with the limited role of acting on E's behalf in respect of any tenancy agreement in the interim under MCA ss48 and 16(2)(b), in case this facility is required by X Ltd and the local authority if E stays where he is. Miss Bretherton submits, however, that such an appointment would not render any tenancy agreement valid, because there would still be no exclusive occupation at a rent. I do not propose to make such an appointment at this stage.

Would a placement with F deprive E of his liberty?
115. The local authority submits that, as E's capacity and needs are the same wherever he is, and the care plan for him is broadly the same whether he is placed with F or in residential care, any placement would require a deprivation of liberty.

116. Mr. Allen submits that this argument is fallacious. To return E to his home and family would not constitute a deprivation of liberty. The concrete situation will be the familiar surroundings of home and family life to which he is accustomed. Other members of his family could visit whenever they wished. In F's home, E has his own bedroom which is always kept open due to the risks presented by his epilepsy. Miss Bretherton submits that the suggestion that E's lack of capacity was so extreme that he would always be deprived of his liberty, wherever he was, and even if returned to F, demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of Article 5.  The "core element" is confinement, per Secretary of State for the Home Department v E [2008] AC 499 per Baroness Hale of Richmond at paragraph 25. She submits that the suggestion that F's home constituted a particular restricted space is untenable.  Nor is there any evidence that E was confined to that home for a significant length of time.  On the contrary, she submits, E was entirely free to leave, (and frequently did leave) subject only to proportionate safeguards which, at most, would be a restriction on, rather than deprivation of, liberty.  There were no restrictions imposed on any person having access to him. The Official Solicitor also disagrees with the local authority, contending that if E were to return to F he would probably not be deprived of his liberty within the meaning of Article 5. But he submits that it is unnecessary and undesirable for the Court to rule on this point.

117. Common sense suggests that when considering deprivation of liberty there is a clear distinction between a placement at home, with family or an adult carer, and in a residential establishment. One can of course think of circumstances – those of the first Mrs. Rochester in "Jane Eyre", for example – where someone might be deprived of their liberty although living at home. But in most cases the circumstances are more likely to fall into the category of a restriction, rather than a deprivation, of liberty. But I am making no ruling on that issue, for three reasons. First, I have not heard full legal argument on the matter. Secondly, I have been told that a judgment is "hotly awaited" from a senior judge which it is anticipated will address this issue after full argument. Finally, I do not consider that any ruling I made about whether or not a placement with F would constitute deprivation of E's liberty would have any bearing on my interim best interests assessment. The fact that a placement with F might, as a matter of law and fact, amount to a deprivation of E's liberty would not dissuade me from authorising his return if I concluded that was in his best interests. It is the substance of the proposed placement that matters, not any label that attaches to it.

Admissibility of, and weight to be given to, E's statements
118. Part of the local authority case against returning E to F's care is based on statements allegedly made by him from which, if taken at face value, an inference might be drawn that he was ill-treated in her care. The question arises whether such statements are admissible and, if so, what weight should be attached to them.

119. In civil litigation, hearsay reports of statements from a person who is not competent are inadmissible under s.5 Civil Evidence Act 1995 ("CEA"). In London Borough of Enfield v SA, FA and KA [2010] EWHC 196 (Admin) McFarlane J. considered whether hearsay statements from a person who lacked capacity were admissible under the Court of Protection Rules 2007 ("COPR"). He held that the power of the Court to "admit such evidence, whether written or oral, as it thinks fit" pursuant to rule 95(d) of COPR conferred upon the Court of Protection power to admit evidence from a witness who was not competent (see paragraphs 32 to 36). It is submitted by Miss Bretherton that this is wrong in law because the general power to admit evidence pursuant to the Court of Protection Rules, which are secondary legislation, cannot override the express prohibition against such evidence being admitted in primary legislation, namely s.5 CEA.  It is a fundamental principle of construction that delegated legislation cannot override any Act. Furthermore, Miss Bretherton submits, the overriding objective of the MCA is to act in the best interests of such a person, pursuant to s.1(5) MCA.  The rule under s.5 CEA furthers that purpose.  It is submitted that it cannot be in the best interests of a person without capacity to have statements they made while not competent to be a witness relied upon. Miss Bretherton points to the present case, in which the local authority acted upon such statements, as an example of the dangers of so doing.

120. In reply, the Official Solicitor submitted, first, that statements made by E will be hearsay only if they are tendered as evidence of the matters stated. Some statements made by P may be tendered not as evidence of the matters stated but as evidence of something more basic, e.g. that the statements were made. I do not think this argument assists in this case as the purpose for admitting the statements would be to prove the matters stated, namely that E had been ill-treated by F. The Official Solicitor's second argument is, however, more persuasive. He contends that it is in fact primary legislation, namely s.51(2)(i), which permits the COPR (by r95(d)) to depart from s.5 CEA 1995. As noted by McFarlane J. in Re SA at paragraph 42, s.51(2)(i) provides: "Court of Protection Rules may, in particular, make provision– …(i) as to what may be received in evidence (whether or not admissible apart from the rules)…" (emphasis added). Miss Street therefore submitted that, as the primary legislation under which the Court of Protection Rules were made permits a rule to allow evidence to be admitted which would otherwise be excluded by another rule of law, this enables the court to admit E's statement notwithstanding the provisions of s.5 of CEA.

121. I agree with and endorse the analysis of McFarlane J. in Re SA as amplified by Miss Street on behalf of the Official Solicitor in this case. Accordingly, I hold that E's statements are admissible in evidence in these proceedings. The question of what weight to attach to them is, however, a different matter.

122. If, contrary to her first submission, the Court holds that the said statements by E are admissible, Miss Bretherton relies upon the following principal points on the question of the weight to be attached to E's statements: (1) as in SA, the factors which mean that E cannot be a competent witness also undermine the weight to be afforded to such statements; (2) the level of communication is far less than was the case in SA - the expert evidence on the issue is that E can only understand one word in every sentence, what he says is rarely in context, he repeats things ("echolalia") and what he says is "totally unreliable"; (3) E would not understand the task of giving evidence; (4) E has made incorrect allegations against professionals which no one suggests are correct e.g. ""U" hit me"; (5) none of the comments – about F or H hitting E, or E being locked in a wardrobe or cupboard – are corroborated; (6) the evidence in the present case is multiple hearsay evidence.

123. Miss Irving QC sought to dissuade me from making findings in relation to the weight to be attached to E's comments at school until the opinion of the psychiatrist is received. Miss Street put it slightly differently on behalf of the Official Solicitor. She agreed with Miss Irving QC that the Court should not make findings of fact about what lies behind E's comments at school and the causes of his behaviour without the benefit of the psychiatric evidence to be filed in due course. However, because the court has heard much evidence already, it is appropriate at this stage to make some findings of fact, although the court should approach this exercise with caution in the light of the further hearing yet to follow and because the experts' investigations may give rise to further evidence on the issues which have been before the court during this hearing. Where it is not yet appropriate to go as far as findings, the court can of course record the salient evidence and its impressions thereof.

124. I have formed the very clear conclusion that no weight can be attached at this hearing to comments made by E which might suggest that he has been ill-treated at home. His communication capacity is extremely limited. He says only one or two words, and those he does say are often merely echoing what others have said. One psychologist (W) noted that he "often repeats information but doesn't necessarily understand". It is clear that he has said things about being hit (by a school staff member called U) that are manifestly inaccurate. I conclude that no weight can be attached to anything E has said unless clearly supported by corroborative evidence. No such evidence has been produced. Accordingly, at this stage I disregard all such statements made by E.

125. Having finally dealt with all matters of law raised by counsel, I can turn to the interim best interests assessment.

BEST INTERESTS – EVIDENCE AND FINDINGS
126. As stated above, there is ample evidence that E enjoyed a close relationship with F. In short, he was one of the family. F described him in oral evidence as "like my son". He called her either by her name or "mum". If E is to enjoy the benefits of a family life, it will only be with F. As Mr. Read said, there is no other way of constructing a family environment for him other than returning him to her care. Although E is unable to express himself in words with any clarity, he has clearly demonstrated that he loves F and regards her as his mother. It can, in my judgment, be assumed that he would wish to return to her care if that were possible.

127. There is plenty of evidence to satisfy me that F's care of E was generally of a high quality. In his report, Mr. Read observed: "the view of the social workers from the children's services is that F proved to be a loving, dedicated and skilled carer who treated E as a member of her family.  There were concerns expressed about poor communication, difficulties in complying with local authority regulations, complaints about the quality of her supervision from third parties, but overall the picture from the fostering service was a very positive placement for E." The respite care manager at the J Residential Home where E has stayed on many occasions during his years with F said in his statement that "F in my view did a remarkable job with E.  She acted in my view like any caring parent should act and has the necessary skills and abilities to manage E." G told the court that she always felt happy about E's care when he was living with F.  She had no worries about him or his health.  Consequently when she discovered that he had been removed from F's care it was "scary – I didn't know where he was or how safe he was". One cannot help reflecting that if it was "scary" for G, how much more distressing and confusing must if have been for E himself.

128. There have been some concerns that F has been uncooperative in her dealings with professionals. I think the local authority is probably right in saying that, on occasions, F was antagonistic and confrontational. I note the evidence that professionals, including E's paediatrician, had been concerned at her attitude at one professionals' meeting to which she had insisted in bringing E. In cross-examination, F did not accept that she had acted unadvisedly on this occasion.  She thought E had a right to be at the meeting.   She did not accept that her behaviour towards the school staff would have added to E's anxiety.  In my judgment, F is to be criticized for failing to appreciate the risk of harm to E on this occasion. She clearly had a poor relationship with Miss M, the deputy head at the school. I found Miss M to be an impressive witness, and I suspect that F was probably at fault in her attitude to the school. But I was also impressed with the observation of the manager of the J Residential Home in his statement dated 18 January 2010 when he described F as "a very direct person… who cared deeply about what was best for E.  She was very forthright in her views and would challenge professionals if she disagreed about what was best for E… whilst F made her views known and disagreed with what they were saying about the management of E, she acted like any concerned parent might.  I think there were some personality clashes but do not think that F allowed these to get in the way of managing things for E." There are similar observations in the local authority records.

129. Particularly striking is the record of excellent relations between F and the hospital staff during E's prolonged admission in 2008. It is not uncommon to find antagonism between medical staff and family during long hospital admissions. In this instance, there were no reports of any difficulties. On the contrary, all the staff, including E's surgeon, were highly complimentary about F's dedication to E and her attitude towards staff.

130. Overall, I do not find F has a history of generally poor cooperation with professionals. It is regrettable that there have been difficulties with the school, but in my judgment this is not a factor to which I should attach much weight in the balance against a return to F's care. On the contrary, the evidence shows that F is a carer who fights hard on E's behalf. It may be that sometimes she takes things too far (for example, by taking E to a professionals' meeting at which things were said that might have caused him anxiety). But it is in E's best interests to have a carer who genuinely cares for him and fights his corner. That is something to be placed in the balance in favour of a return home, in the interim and in particular in the long term.

131. There was some evidence of possible incidents of ill-treatment of E in F's care. For the reasons set out above, I attach no weight to the statements made by E from which an inference of ill-treatment might be drawn. There was evidence about an incident in 2007 when F is said to have spoken harshly to E on collecting him from school. That incident is described in a note on the files. Miss M was asked about it by Miss Bretherton. She conceded that she herself had not seen F be verbally aggressive to E. What concerned her about the incident when F had apparently or allegedly admonished E for bad behaviour in school was the inference about the way in which she dealt with such behaviour at home which could be derived from her alleged comment: "what you do is put him to the wall". F denied that she had said this, and denied that she had been aggressive or threatening towards E in this incident. Whilst I think it likely that F was cross with E and that she probably admonished him, I do not find that she was aggressive, or that this incident is indicative of a pattern of ill-treatment.

132. There is no doubt that E has throughout his life exhibited difficult behaviour. The major bone of contention between F and the school was their different experiences of his behaviour. Miss M describes E's behaviour in 2007 as "very challenging" and has increased over the time she has known him.  On a scale of one to ten in terms of behavioural problems, Miss M said that E would be a ten. His challenging behaviour had a very considerable impact at the school.  At its most challenging, he was a risk to the staff and to himself.  His behaviour was also very unpredictable and difficult to control environmentally and as a result the school had to put quite extreme measures into place. Thus E had a room where he could be by himself where he could go at moments of extreme anxiety.  By the end of his time in F's care, E was using that room a lot.  Miss M was anxious to impress upon the Court that it was E's choice to use that room. He would indicate he wished to go there by moving away and would either walk or take a member of staff or ask to go out of the classroom.

133. F recounted how there had been repeated difficulties with E's behaviour on the school bus.  He would be happy leaving home but once on the bus he would kick or bite or sit on the floor and when the teacher came out of school he would bite her.  F was concerned that she was not experiencing this behaviour at home and also that the school were not telling her sufficient details of the problems they were having.

134. This difference did not surprise Mr. Read who in answer to Mr. Allen related how in the course of his career he has come across other children who behave very differently at school and at home or in residential care in a way that would not be expected of a child without learning difficulties.  The experience of children with learning difficulties is that the pattern of behaviour may vary, he said. This is also reflected in the different experience of the J Residential Home and the school. Whereas the school found his behaviour at the extreme end of the spectrum, that was not the experience of the manager of the J Residential Home who said in evidence that it was at "the manageable end of the spectrum".

135. In fact, the evidence showed that there were times when F experienced difficulties managing E's behaviour. She described how difficult he had been when he first came to her as a small child. In cross-examination she was taken to passages in the older history as set out in social services records from which it is clear that she was at one stage in 2007 having some problems with E's behaviour.  F had sought the advice of Dr. L, the consultant psychologist who had advised her to replicate the reward system used effectively to help E at school.  F thought at this stage that E's increased behavioural problem at home was spilling over from school.

136. It became apparent to me, however, that F did experience increasing difficulty managing his behaviour after he returned home following his prolonged stay in hospital in 2008. For example, there was an incident after Christmas 2008 when E had thrown a dustbin at her. F conceded that it gave her a shock. She went outside the house into the garden, leaving him in the house by himself. She was outside with her hand on the door handle while he was inside holding the door handle at the other end and saying sorry. F said in evidence that she had not seen E like it before. Afterwards, her neighbour had suggested using valium to help control E's behaviour.  F conceded in cross-examination that in the course of discussing this incident with P, the social worker, she had wondered whether E was schizophrenic because, as she said, one minute he was okay, the next minute he was throwing a bin at her. On another occasion E had pulled her friend's necklace and broken it together with a mobile phone. 

137. This is the background to the incident abroad in March/April 2009. F took E on holiday for a week, accompanied by her sister Q and her partner R. F has (as I find) given different accounts about this incident. On 6 April, two days after her return, she saw Miss T, who noted that F described the incident as follows: "F related that E kicked off on holiday.  He asked to go to bed, F was eating, delayed responding, put plate down, E smacked her right in the face.  He also grabbed at her and ripped her pyjama top.  Q and R 'got hold of him' one from behind (R) and one holding his arms.  F demonstrated that E was on the floor with his arms reached upwards and that he was held by his upper arms.  F went upstairs.  E went to follow her.  F described E being given 'a love' - hugged so that he could not leave the room.  F related that Q and R cared for E the next day and gave him his tea". Miss T said that the notes are an accurate record of what was said by F at the visit.  She made a note in the notebook during the visit as they were discussing the issue. 

138. On 22 April, Miss T asked F about the incident again. She gave a similar account. On this occasion Miss T's note reads as follows: "she said she was sat on the chair – E was sat next to her.  He said bed.  F went to take another bite out of her sandwich – E hit her.  She put her sandwich down and E lashed out again.  F put her hand out to him (she demonstrated – raising her hand/arm in the air).  E grabbed at her pyjamas and ripped the buttons.  'He'd go on the floor – don't know how'. R got up from settee next to E.  R got behind him and got hold of him. E was screaming 'sorry F'… Q was at the dining room table – she got up and got hold of him.  F was unsure where she touched him.  Next thing he jumped up and followed F.  F went upstairs.  E followed her – Q got hold of him and 'gave him a love'.  Q put him to bed that night – it was over in seconds.  Next day carried on as normal… I asked F about her previous account.  F had said that she ignored him the following day.  F agreed that she did ignore E the following day but said that this did not affect his care".

139. Miss T adhered to this account in oral evidence. She said that F had described E lying on his back on the floor with his arms stretched above him.  She said that Q had bent over E, with her hands on his arms.  F had demonstrated the position to Miss T who repeated that demonstration in court. 

140. In the note of the first conversation on 6 April, Miss T records that F asked her if there was any self-defence training she could attend and said that Q had shown her how to use pressure points to disarm someone and had said that it did not hurt.  F demonstrated to Miss T what she had been shown.  F was advised that adult placement services have a no restraint policy and would not endorse any form of restraint. Miss T said it was concerning that F had thought those techniques might be appropriate to use on E.

141. When F gave evidence about the trip abroad, she described E's behaviour overall on holiday as being "brilliant".  There had, however, been one occasion when he had slapped her on the face.  She said that she, E, and her sister and partner were sitting in the apartment one evening.  E asked to go to bed.  F said no, in a minute, and he had insisted "no, bed".  At that point he slapped her on the face twice and as she put her arm up to protect herself he went on to the floor, grabbed her pyjamas and pulled the buttons off.  F had said to E "what are you doing?" He said sorry repeatedly.  F said that she had then gone upstairs to change and when she came down she found her sister had her arms round E "giving him a love".  Her sister had then taken E out for a walk.  F said that the incident "was over in seconds".  F said that the description of the incident in Miss T's note was inaccurate.  Her sister had merely given him a cuddle.  It was not right, said F, that one of them had got hold of him from behind at all.  She was, however, unable to explain how it was that Miss T had made this mistake in her notes of their two conversations on 6 and 22 April.

142. The court bundles contain two handwritten documents from Q and R. Q's document says "… E struck F and grabbed her nightwear and tore the buttons.  F asked E to let go several times, then R said let's go E and rose from her chair.  At that point E relinquished his grip and sank to the floor, he was confused and upset.  I walked over and offered E my hand, he rose from the floor and I hugged him. He was quite upset and was asking for F, I took him to the patio area and had a chat with him.  He was fine after a short period…" R's document says: "E hit F twice in the face and then grabbed her pyjama top, he dropped to the floor and wouldn't let go of F.  I got off the chair and said, c'mon mate let's go. With that E released his grip off F, at that point, Q came over and E took her hand and walked out onto the patio and the situation was diffused very quickly." Both therefore broadly support the version given by F in evidence, but neither Q not R was called to give evidence before me.

143. F accepted in oral evidence that when speaking to the social workers after returning from abroad she had used the word "self-defence" when asking for further training and help managing E's behaviour.  She said that she thought she would like to have some self-defence training, just in case E behaved in a similar way again.  She said, however, that she had never herself physically restrained E and she had not seen either her sister or her partner use such restraint abroad. In cross examination by Miss Irving QC, F accepted that she had asked the social workers about the use of pressure points.  She said, however, that her reason for doing that was not because she was concerned about how to control E's behaviour. I found this difficult to accept.

144. I accept Miss T's evidence about what F told her on 6 and 22 April, and about the demonstration F gave. Accordingly, I find that F has not told me the truth about this incident. This finding is relevant for two reasons. First it forms part of the reason for my finding that F was struggling on occasions to manage E's behaviour after his discharge from hospital. The fact that E struck her, that she was unable to cope and became distressed, and that her sister and her partner had to intervene and use physical restraint all support this conclusion. In addition, I think it is significant that she made inquiries about self-defence training. I find that she felt that she needed such training because she was becoming anxious about the risk of sustaining harm as a result of E's behaviour.

145. The finding is also relevant because it demonstrates that F has sought to mislead the court about this matter. This is not the only example of lack of candour in her evidence. She also gave misleading evidence about her criminal record. It was in Miss Bretherton's cross-examination that the question of F's criminal record was first raised.  She was shown a copy of her application form to become an adult placement carer and said that the record of her previous convictions on that form was accurate – it said that she had a shoplifting conviction in 1973 for which she had been fined.  Later, however, during cross-examination by Miss Irving QC, F conceded that she had in fact four convictions for offences of dishonesty – three of theft and one of handling, all related to shoplifting – stretching between 1975 and 1983.  Hearing her evidence, I expressed considerable surprise that she had misled me in answer to Miss Bretherton and also when completing her application form to be an adult placement carer.

146. The local authority says that this lack of honesty is very concerning. I accept that it is a matter that I have to take into account when conducting the best interests assessment. Mr Allen pointed out that F must have known that the local authority was well aware of the full details of her previous convictions (four convictions for shoplifting or handling between 1975 and 1984).  He therefore asked rhetorically why she would lie about something the local authority already knew. In addition, he drew my attention to the circumstances in which the form had been completed at a time when E was in hospital recovering from his operation and F had suffered a bereavement.  In addition, he submitted that F had been under pressure in the witness box when she gave her inaccurate answer about her convictions. He acknowledged that she had been inaccurate about her criminal record, but submitted that she had not been lying. In the alternative, in the event that the court concluded that it had been a lie, Mr. Allen rightly reminded me of the need to give myself a Lucas direction.

147. There is a material difference in my judgment between one isolated offence of shoplifting and a course of criminal conduct of dishonesty stretching over a nine year period.  The latter is significantly more serious.  My initial reaction on hearing F's cross-examination was that it was a deliberate lie.  I have considered the matter carefully since her evidence.  I do think that she knowingly deceived the court with a view to deliberately minimising her criminal record.  I give myself the Lucas direction but am driven to the conclusion that the reason for her lie was to paint herself in a more favourable light as a potential carer for E.  On balance, I consider that to be the motivation for her lie (as I find it to be) on the application form as well as the witness box. I am not impressed by the excuses advanced on her behalf for the mistake on the form.

148. Miss Street submits, however, that while her conduct in the witness box, in particular with respect to her previous convictions, raises serious concerns for the Official Solicitor, it is not clear that the evidence she gave should rule her out from caring for E in the short or long term, if this were otherwise considered appropriate. For this reason, submitted Miss Street, the fact that she did not tell the truth to the court in this respect does not necessarily lead to a present conclusion that she is not "of integrity" and therefore unfit to be an adult placement carer under regulation 16 of the 2004 Regulations. I agree with these submissions. The fact that she lied on oath about her record is, in my view a serious matter, and one which I shall take into account in the best interests assessment. It does not, however, automatically disqualify her from caring for E.

149. The local authority sought to add to this picture by raising concerns about F's management of E's finances. I do not propose to set out the details of this part of the evidence in any detail. Having listened to it, I found nothing in it to suggest that there was any reason to question F's honesty. No doubt she has found some of the rules and procedures obscure and difficult to understand.

150. There was a considerable amount of evidence about the circumstances of E's current placement at Z Road, much of it very positive. F described the staff looking after him there as "very, very nice and generally brilliant". Mr. Y described how E has improved in a wide variety of ways since he went to live at Z.  His communication, both verbal and non-verbal, has improved as a result of various strategies which X Ltd had employed in consultation with a speech and language therapist.  There has, according to Mr. Y, been a definite development in E's independent skills, as a result of the use of a "person-centred plan" developed by the staff.  In Mr. Y's view, one of the reasons for E's improvement is the opportunity he has had to access community activities and outdoor pursuits.  As a result, there has been a discernable improvement in E's behaviour. Mr. Y described how E had demonstrated challenging behaviours when he first arrived at Z Road in June.  There had been some improvement as a result of the strategies which X Ltd employed but Mr. Y detected further a problem once contact resumed with F and G.  He described how when E's behaviour was challenging, it was suggested that he could go to his room.  Once there he would be able to calm down by playing the radio or his keyboard.  He would not be prevented from leaving the room.  Rather, the staff would try to engage and distract him in different ways.  He did not think that the policy of suggesting that E should go to his room could be described as "seclusion".  In answer to Miss Bretherton, Mr. Y said that there was a lock on E's door but it could not be operated from the inside.  E was not locked in his room at any point.  The front and back doors to the property are locked because, in Mr. Y's words, "we have four vulnerable adults who have no idea of the dangers of the outside". Mr. Y said that X Ltd has a physical restraint policy which he described as a "non-violent physical intervention programme", but stressed that it was not used on E because the medical advice was that it was not appropriate to use it because of the problem with E's spine. 

151. In oral evidence, Miss M reiterated that since E had been removed from the care of F, there have been considerable changes.  There have no longer been any difficulties with the school transport, as there had been previously.  He is now happy to see the teachers at the start of the day and happy to leave at the end. In contrast to the position before April 2009, Miss M says that E now spends no time in the room by himself.  That room is still available and occasionally he asks to go in it for a few minutes.  The reduction in the frequency of occasions when E went to the small room occurred over a three month period after E returned to the school after half term in June 2009.  She accepted Miss Bretherton's point that this coincided with his medication being introduced. It is thought possible that one reason for his behaviour becoming more manageable is that he is on medication. F and G are concerned that medication is being used to control his behaviour. F is concerned about the possible side-effects, including damage to his vulnerable kidneys, although E's paediatrician told the court that the dose prescribed to him was "not large".

152. The change in behaviour is not the only difference Miss M has seen since E moved to Z Road. In her statement, she recounted how, since June 2009, the school has seen "remarkable progress in E's emotional well-being.  He is increasingly interested in contact with his peers, expressing a wish to join them in the classroom and he rarely asks to work alone".  She adds, however, that the progress which the school has seen in E over the past few months remains "somewhat fragile; he continues to show some evidence of anxiety although much reduced and he continues to find busy unpredictable social environments hard to manage.  He continues to need very consistent and predictable learning environments with support from a skilled, secure staffing team if this progress is to be maintained." However, the improvement has meant that E is now being considered for a college place when he leaves school at the end of this academic year. In oral evidence, Miss M said that, prior to April 2009, this was not considered a realistic option.  His access to learning had been very much impaired by his difficulties and it had been very difficult for E to access community-based educational opportunities.  On each occasion it was necessary for the school to do a risk assessment of E, staff members, and members of the public.  They came to the conclusion at one stage that it was simply not safe for him to engage in such activities.  Since he has been living at Z Road, however, the frequency of the occasions when he has not been able to access such an activity has significantly reduced.  Now, the school is observing how E can access these broader activities.  He is interested in learning, and in working alongside other people. Miss M considered it crucial that this should continue.

153. It is of course right, as Miss M acknowledged in cross-examination that it would not be impossible for E to go to college if he returned to F's care. It seems to me, however, that there is a risk that, at least in the short term, he might not sustain the progress he has made whilst at Z. Clearly the next few months are going to be crucial if he is going to achieve the aim of going onto college.

154. It has not been all plain sailing at Z Road. The evidence shows that E continues to present challenging behaviour. There continue to be incidents recorded at Z Road. I anticipate that this is a matter about which the psychiatrist will be able to give further evidence at the July hearing. At this stage, my provisional conclusion is that E will continue to display difficult behaviour at times, in a variety of settings, and that it is reasonable to conclude that the more unsettled and anxious he becomes, the greater the likelihood of that behaviour recurring.

155. Mr. Read was concerned that the placement at Z Road was in any event not right for E because at present he is the only resident at Z Road who has any speech.  Miss T said, however, that she would not reject the placement simply on the grounds that E is the only resident capable of verbal communication.  She said that E does not initiate communication verbally.  He does have the opportunity to communicate verbally with others namely at school and when socialising with residents from other homes as well as members of staff.  She agreed, however, that this is a matter which should be considered by the local authority in the light of such opinion as the psychiatrist may express in his report.

156. In answer to Miss Street, Mr. Y said that X Ltd was able to provide care for E on a long term basis.  He did not envisage that any deterioration in E's behaviour or health would oblige them to stop caring for him. However, Mr. Y told the court that, were E to be returned to F in the interim, it would be very difficult to keep his place at Z Road open in the event that the ultimate decision of the court is that he should not remain with F.

157. A return to F's care clearly could not happen overnight. F conceded that, if E is to return to her, it would be better for this to happen in stages "because he's got used to living at Z Road". I asked F what the consequences would be if E were to return to her now and then removed after the final hearing in July.  F said that if he had to be removed again she thought he would cope with it very well.  I was unconvinced that F had really thought carefully about the consequences of such a double move for E.  She did acknowledge that she thought it would be confusing for E to come home to her and then to go somewhere other than Z Road. 

158. Drawing all these threads together, Mr. Read identified in his report a number of risks in returning E to F's care at this stage in the interim, namely (1) that with or without his current medication, his behaviour may be too challenging for F to cope with; (2) that F may try to mask the extent of E's behaviour to avoid risking the termination of the placement; (3) that E may lose the opportunity to develop his independent life skills; (4) that E would have more limited opportunities for sharing social activities with his peers; and (5) that a further move in advance of the final hearing may prove disruptive to E, increase his level of anxiety and thus increasing the incidence of more challenging behaviours. On balance, however, it is Mr. Read's opinion that these risks are currently justified pending the final decision of the court.  His conclusion, therefore, is that the better course now is for E to be returned to F's care pending the final hearing.

159. Mr. Read acknowledged that there is clearly a risk that any move would lead to E becoming more agitated, although at the end of his evidence he said that he thought this was a possibility, not a probability. He thought that level of risk could be reduced by careful preparation, but I was somewhat unclear about exactly how that preparation would be carried out, given his learning difficulties. I felt that Mr. Read was a little uncertain at this point in his evidence. In particular, there seemed to be a lack of clarity as to whether overnight staying contact at F's house would be a good idea ahead of a return home. Initially, whilst acknowledging the risk that E may feel that he was going to stay for longer and a consequent risk that he may be upset or agitated when that proved not to be the case, he seemed to be saying that, with skill and preparation and perhaps preliminary visits that did not involve overnight stays, the risks of his becoming agitated could be lessened so that he could manage overnight contact. Later, however, he said that if E is to be returned in the interim, the timetable should be relatively short and should not involve any overnight stays, but rather some extended visits and then a move.

160. Mr. Read acknowledged the risks of returning E in the interim if he was then to be moved away again after the final hearing. He pointed out, that when E had been in hospital for several months, he had been helped to understand that he was in hospital and would soon be going home.  He conceded, however, that there is a difference between telling E what is going to happen when the future is certain as opposed to when it is not. It seems to me, with respect, that Mr. Read has underestimated the dangers to E of returning him to F in the interim and then removing him again at a later date.

161. On any basis, before E could be returned to F, there would have to be a staged programme of increased contact. It would also be necessary to provide F with some training in physical restraint. The local authority's evidence on this aspect of the case was totally unsatisfactory. Miss T was asked in chief about the availability of such training for adult carers.  She said that no training was available so far as she was aware because all physical restraint had to be carried out under supervision.  She said that it involved risk to both the carer and the cared-for adult and that gave rise to issues of insurance.  As a result, she said, the policy of this local authority was that adult placement carers were not allowed to exercise physical restraint. She understood that there was a written policy to that effect although she had not seen a copy. When Miss A, the team manager, gave evidence, she repeated that there was a policy to that effect, and indeed thought she had seen a copy. I was concerned about this evidence from the local authority, partly by the vagueness but also because, if there is indeed such a policy, no adult who may need physical restraint from time to time could be placed in an adult family placement. As Miss Bretherton remarked in the course of the hearing, such a policy is likely to be unlawful on several grounds. At first sight, it would appear to be both irrational and discriminatory.

162. Further research by those representing the Official Solicitor after the conclusion of the evidence revealed that Regulation 17(2)(e) of the Adult Placement Schemes (England) Regulations 2004 and Annex 7 of the National Minimum Standards for Adult Placement Schemes, (Department of Health, August 2004) permit the placement of an adult in a placement despite exhibiting challenging behaviour which may require physical restraint. Furthermore, a re-examination of the court bundles revealed that this local authority's standard adult placement agreement expressly stipulates that physical restraint can be used by adult placement carers, provided training has been given. In the circumstances, it was not surprising to read in Miss Irving QC and Mr. Mackley's final submissions that there was in fact no policy, written or unwritten, precluding the placement of adults requiring physical intervention with a single adult or joint adult carers. They submit, however, that such a placement requires a risk assessment, and it would be unlikely that such a placement would take place if that assessment identified a clear and unacceptable risk of harm to either the vulnerable adult or the carer. Each individual case is treated on its merits.

163. The local authority case on this point has been lamentable. I cannot understand how the social workers, and in particular the team manager, can have given evidence of the existence of a policy that would prevent the court placing E back with F when no such policy in fact existed.

164. Before reaching my conclusions on the best interests assessment, I must acknowledge the very considerable contribution made to this hearing by G. It was she who launched these proceedings, and thus is directly responsible not only for exposing the serious human rights breaches committed by the local authority but for providing a forum for the determination of the very difficult decision about her brother's future. She has attended every day of the hearing, including days in London, despite the difficulties with which she has to cope at home. In her statement, she acknowledges that she has not been able to see as much of E in the past as she would have liked. Following the death of her parents, she is his closest living relative, and, as she says in her statement, feels much more liberated to take matters forward in terms of being a sister to her brother. It is unquestionably to E's benefit to have a sister who is interested and involved in his life. I am confident that, wherever he ultimately lives, she will play an important role in his future.

THE PARTIES' FINAL SUBMISSIONS
165. On behalf of F, Mr. Allen invites the Court to have particular regard to (1) the interim recommendations of the independent social worker; (2)  E's past and present wishes and feelings, the close relationship between him and F, and the fact that he was fully integrated into her family; (3) the greater restriction on E at Z Road and the fact that a return to F would be "less restrictive" within the meaning of MCA s.1(6); (4) the flaws that have riddled the local authority's procedures; and (5) the clear violation of his Article 8 rights, and the absence of any pressing need for him to be kept apart from his family. In having regard to all the relevant circumstances, he submits that the factor of "magnetic importance" is that E has been removed and continually separated from the home and family he has known for over 14 years and has been unlawfully detained in what should be registered as a care home. The best option for him, submits Mr. Allen, is to be returned home pending the final hearing. This position is firmly supported by Miss Bretherton on behalf of G, who adds that the longer E stays away from F, the more difficult it may be to return him.

166. On behalf of the local authority, Miss Irving QC and Mr Mackley draw particular attention to (1) the very real concerns that E would become anxious and confused by any interim move; (2) the significant improvement in E's behaviour at school which has enabled him to enjoy a better quality of life at school and given him opportunities not previously available to him because of that behaviour; (3) the fact that he is to be assessed by the jointly-instructed psychiatrist, Dr. Berney, which leads the local authority to submit that no risk should be taken which may lead to the disturbance of E's current stability pending that advice and consideration of it by the court; and (4) the fact that, as E has already experienced two moves, it would expose him to a real and unnecessary risk of further emotional harm to move him again before the final decision, with the consequential risk of yet a further move after the final decision is taken. Those representing the local authority are critical of Mr. Read, saying that he had not had or considered all the papers filed herein when he gave his evidence or when he wrote his reports, that he was inconsistent in his evidence, exceeded his brief, and displayed a "paucity of intellectual rigour".

167. The Official Solicitor has prepared a very helpful balance sheet (in accordance with the approach set out by Thorpe LJ in the case of Re A (Medical treatment: Male Sterilisation) [2000] 1 FLR 549) to assist him and the court in assessing best interests. In putting it forward, he stresses the limits of its assistance. It is a necessary discipline to identify the advantages and disadvantages of each course of action. However, each bullet point on the balance sheet does not necessarily have equal weight in the balance. I have been greatly assisted by this balance sheet, which is a model of its kind.

168. The Official Solicitor concludes that the court faces an exceptionally difficult decision. He considers that the case is very finely balanced. He regrets the absence of evidence from the psychiatrist at this interim stage. He acknowledges that there are grounds on an interim basis for the court to authorise E's continued deprivation of liberty under s.48. In the circumstances, however, he accepts the view of the independent social worker, and concludes that on balance the better course would be to return E to F's care in the interim.

169. The fact that the case is so finely balanced must mean, however, that it is open to the Court to accept that the factors are as identified by the Official Solicitor but when conducting the balancing exercise come to the opposite conclusion. Ultimately, it is a matter for the Court and not the expert nor the Official Solicitor, despite their very considerable experience.

170. I think the local authority substantially and unhelpfully overstates its criticisms of Mr. Read. He clearly had not read all the updating papers before giving evidence but I have no reason to believe that this was his fault. There are nine lever arch files of papers in these proceedings – arranged in a confusing way – and all of us have struggled to master the details of this history. I found Mr. Read's evidence helpful in a number of ways. He was, I think, the first person to articulate clearly the details of the local authority's unlawful actions. I propose to give considerable weight to his opinion. Ultimately, however, the decision about interim best interests is a matter for me. Whilst appropriate attention must be paid to the opinion of experts, that opinion must be considered in the context of all the circumstances. The roles of the court and expert are distinct and it is the court that is in the best position to weigh the expert evidence against its findings on the other evidence: A County Council v K, D and L [2005] EWHC 144 (Fam), [2005] 1 FLR 851.

CONCLUSIONS
171. I have already held that E's placements at the V Unit and Z Road until 8th December 2009 were an unlawful deprivation of liberty, and an infringement of his human rights under Articles 5 and 8 of ECHR. Those breaches do not, however, automatically result in a conclusion that he must be returned to F's care forthwith. The decision under s.48 must be made by assessing what is in E's best interests in all the circumstances.

172. In carrying out the balancing exercise required for this decision, I identify the following principal benefits of returning E to F at this stage:

(1)  the inherent benefits of family life with all the comforts and emotional security that family life affords;

(2)  E's close relationship with and mutual attachment to F;

(3)  the fact that he would be returning to the home which he has known for most of his life;

(4)  the fact that he would be able to enjoy regular and easy contact with other family members, in particular his sister G;

(5)  the greater flexibility and informality that family life usually brings;

(6)  a lower level of restriction upon E's activities and routine;

(7)  the availability of more personal care;

(8)  the long-term dedication and commitment which F has shown towards caring for E and in "fighting his corner";

(9)  the fact that in F there would be one principal carer dedicated to looking after E; and

(10)  F's acute awareness of E's needs resulting from her long experience of caring for him for most of his life.

173. In addition, there are disadvantages for E in remaining at Z Road. It is in my judgement clear that his placement there constitutes a deprivation of liberty and a greater restriction on his life than would be imposed if he were returned to live with F. Furthermore, there is the uncertainty about his security of tenure as a result of the concerns about the so-called tenancy agreement discussed above. Finally, there is the risk that the longer he stays there, the more difficult it may be for him to return to F. By the time of the final hearing in July, he will have been at Z Road for over a year. He will be even more settled than he is now. It may be difficult by that stage to justify moving him, even if at that stage the merits of a return to F seem clear.

174. The disadvantages of returning E to F at this stage include:

(1)  the fact that he has been living away from F for nearly a year and has become relatively settled at Z Road;

(2)  the likelihood that a further move will cause him considerable emotional difficulties even though it would consist of a return to a home with which he was familiar;

(3)  the consequent likelihood that his emotional distress would lead to more challenging behaviour;

(4)  the likelihood that F would struggle to cope with that behaviour as she did (in my judgment) in the months leading up to his removal from her care in April 2009;

(5)  the need for F to be provided with training and guidance as to how to manage E's behaviour before he can safely be returned to her care;

(6)  the risk that without that training and guidance E may be subjected to inappropriate physical restraint;

(7)  the risk that the disruption caused by the move may set back the progress that  has clearly made at school;

(8)  the consequent risk that he will not be deemed suitable to move on to college to further his education and training in life skills;

(9)  the fact that F is a sole carer who will have to bear almost all the responsibility for caring for E;

(10)  the fact that F has demonstrated a lack of candour which if repeated may affect her relationships with the professionals who help care for E.

175. In addition, there is one particular concern which I have had about returning E to F at this stage. It is clear to me that no final decision can be taken about his long-term placement until the comprehensive psychiatric report ordered by the court in December 2009 is available. There is a significant possibility that, when that report is available together with all the other material, the court will conclude that the better long-term placement for E is in a residential home, either at Z Road or in some other establishment. E's needs are complex and very substantial. It is likely that those needs will grow as he gets older. It seems to me that there is a very real possibility that the court will conclude in July that, notwithstanding the dedication and commitment that F has shown towards E in many years, she will not be able to cope with him in the long-term. In those circumstances, despite the clear benefits of returning to the family home that he has known most of his life, the court may well be driven to the conclusion that the better course would be for him to live elsewhere. It therefore seems to me that, if E now returns to F, there is a real risk that he will have to move again after the hearing in July. In my judgment, the emotional harm which E would suffer as a result of moving to F now and then moving elsewhere after July would be very considerable.

176. The Official Solicitor describes the decision I have to make as exceptionally difficult and finely balanced. I agree, but in my judgment the balance comes down against the course recommended by the Official Solicitor and the independent social worker. Balancing all relevant factors, I conclude that at this stage E's best interests require that he remain at Z Road until the final hearing in four months' time in July.

177. In reaching that decision, I have asked myself whether I am falling into the trap identified by Munby J. in Re MM (supra). Have I succumbed to the temptation to put the physical safety of E before everything else? I think the balancing exercise summarised above demonstrates that I have avoided that trap.

178. Any order that keeps E away from F's home will be an interference with E's exercise of his Article 8 rights. However, having reached the conclusion, after carrying out the balancing exercise required under the best interests assessment, and taking into account all the relevant factors, including the inherent benefits of family life, the deep mutual attachment between E and F, and the fact that return to F would afford E easier contact with other family members, that on balance E should not at this stage be returned to F, it follows that the interference is permissible under Article 8(2) since it is in accordance with the law (a legitimate order under s. 48) and necessary in a democratic society in the sense of meeting a pressing social need, that is to say the need to keep E in his current placement pending the final decision because of the factors identified.

179. I stress that this is only an interim order. There is in my judgment a good prospect that at the final hearing the court will be able to order E's return home to F. By that stage, the crucial evidence from the psychiatrist Dr. Berney will be available, and the court will have a much clearer picture of the likely pattern of E's difficulties and challenging behaviour. In order to prepare for the distinct possibility that E will be returning to F, I propose to direct the local authority to arrange a comprehensive risk assessment of that proposed placement with a view to identifying the risks that might arise if E were to return home, and the packages of support and training that need to be made available for F. That assessment will be on the basis of the findings made in this judgment and will be further informed by Dr. Berney's report when it becomes available in April. In view of the very serious criticisms I have made of the local authority, I expect this work to receive the highest priority, and the results to be available as soon as possible so that any required training (including training in physical restraint) can be carried out before the hearing in July so that, in the event that the court then decides that E should return to F, that decision can be implemented as soon as possible.

180. I also direct that the local authority devise a programme of increased contact for E with F and G. At this stage I do not define the level of contact. I leave it to the local authority, in consultation with the Official Solicitor, F and G, to arrive at an appropriate arrangement.

181. In accordance with authority – see Salford CC v GJ, NJ and BJ [2008] EWHC 1097 (Fam) and  Salford CC v BJ  [2009] EWHC 3310 (Fam) – I  propose to direct a further review hearing on 6 May. Any disagreement about the assessments, training, or contact can be referred to me at that hearing. I regret to say that it will have to be in London, but subject to the views of the parties I consider that it would be suitable to hold it via video link. Position statements and updating bundles should be filed with my clerk direct 24 hours before the hearing.

182. I say nothing at this stage about the proposal of the Official Solicitor for the appointment of a deputy to address the difficulties that have arisen over the "tenancy agreement". That is a matter that can be revisited, if necessary, at the hearing in May.

ORDER
183. Subject to any alterations and additions which may be suggested by counsel, I propose to make an order in the following terms:

(1) a declaration that E lacks capacity to make a decision as to where he should live;

(2) a declaration that the local authority unlawfully deprived E of his liberty and infringed his rights under Article 5 of ECHR by placing of E on 7 April 2009 at the V Unit without seeking authorisation under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards in Schedule A1 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 or an order of the Court of Protection, and by subsequently placing him at Z Road without seeking an order of the Court of Protection;

(3) a declaration that the local authority infringed E's rights under Article 8 of ECHR by removing him from F's care without proper authorisation, failing to give any or any adequate consideration to his family life with F at the time of the removal or for many months thereafter, failing adequately to involve F in the decision-making process about E's future, and restricting contact between E and F for several months after his removal;

(4) an order under s.48 that E should live at Z Road until the hearing in July 2010 or prior further order;

(5) an order that the local authority shall arrange reasonable contact between E and F and between E and G;

(6) a direction that the local authority shall carry out a risk assessment of the proposal that E should return to F's care in July 2010, and devise and carry out  a programme of training for F;

(7) a direction that the matter be listed for review before me on 6 May 2010, time estimate 2 hours;

(8) a direction that the final hearing remain in the list before me on circuit in July 2010, time estimate 10 days (although I anticipate that that estimate will be reduced in due course);

(9) liberty to all parties to apply on 48 hours' notice, all applications reserved to me.

I would be grateful if Mr. Mackley would file a perfected draft of this order.