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Family Law

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28 SEP 2011

CHILDREN ACT: R (Castle) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis) [2011] EWHC 2317 (Admin)

(Queen's Bench Division; Pitchford LJ and Supperstone J; 7 September 2011)
 
The three claimants, two aged 16 and one aged 14 took part in demonstrations in London protesting against the rise in university tuition fees. The police contained the demonstrators for approximately 7 hours. The claimants sought a judicial review, a declaration of unlawfulness of their containment and damages. They claimed a breach of the defendant's duty under s 11 of the Children Act 2004 and that the duration of the detention was excessive and for the unlawful purpose of carrying out searches under s 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. They also claimed breaches of Arts 5, 8, 10, 11 of ECHR.  The police had no prior notification that school children would be among the protestors. The decision was made to contain 3-5000 protestors in Whitehall due to increasingly violent behaviour in order to prevent crime and further breach of the peace. The police asked vulnerable people to make themselves known to be released from containment. The police helicopter was sent to scan crowds for young children. The claimants did not participate in criminal activity.

Held that the decision to contain was lawful. The duration was not excessive, as there was a continuing threat of breach of peace. The delay increased by practice of searching those permitted to leave as there was evidence of a large numbers of protestors being armed. There were ongoing attempts to release school children. Interference with ECHR rights for a legitimate reason, in accordance with law and proportionate to legitimate aim of preventing imminent breach of the peace.

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