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Birmingham City Council v R & Ors [2021] EWHC 2556 (Fam)

Application for the court to review a Deprivation of Liberty Order authorisation

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This case concerned T, a 16-year-old child who was placed in an unregistered children's home – Nurtured Future Living (NFL) – under a Deprivation of Liberty Order (DOLS). The court had previously granted authorisation of the DOLS and approved the placement as a short-term measure whilst a long-term, registered placement could be identified.

Initially, NFL had informed the local authority that it was in the process of registering the placement; however, it later resiled from this position. Oftsed threatened to prosecute NFL if T remained at the placement and as a result, NFL served notice to terminate T's placement, though they were prepared to continue to care for T until an alternative placement had been found. At the time of this hearing, the local authority had been unable to identify any suitable Ofsted-registered placement for T.

The local authority, supported by all of the parties, invited the court to continue the DOLS order and authorise the continued placement of T at NFL until an alternative could be identified. Having set out the relevant statutory provisions under s.22 of the Children Act 1989 and the amended Practice Guidance, the court concluded that it had the power to authorise the deprivation of liberty at the placement whether or not the local authority has the power to place T there [25] and did so, with a direction for the matter to return to court in 4-weeks to allow the local authority to make further inquiries of placements and both NFL and Ofsted to set out their positions in writing.

Case summary by Bianca Jackson, Barrister, Coram Chambers
For full case, please see BAILII