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Supreme Court to deliver judgment on section 20 accommodation

Court of Appeal found no breach of Human Rights Act

On Wednesday, 18 July, the Supreme Court will give judgment in Williams and another v London Borough of Hackney.

The court will consider the lawfulness of the accommodation of the appellants' children by the respondent local authority under section 20 of the Children Act 1989.

On 5 July 2007 the appellants' children were taken into police protection pursuant to s 46 of the Children Act 1989 in response to allegations of assault and neglect. The appellants were granted police bail, a condition of which was that no unsupervised contact was permitted with the children. The respondent local authority placed the children with foster parents and sought the appellants' consent to continue the accommodation under s 20 after the police protection period ended. The appellants shortly thereafter objected to the accommodation beyond 23 July 2007 pursuant to s 20(7) but the children were not returned to them until 11 September 2007 after the bail condition was lifted. Criminal proceedings against the appellants were later discontinued. After pursuing complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman, the appellants issued proceedings for damages for misfeasance in public office, negligence, religious discrimination and for breach of their rights under the Human Rights Act 1998.

For the Court of Appeal judgment, prefaced by a detailed summary by Emily Ward of Broadway House Chambers, click here.