Restricting a child's liberty is a serious step which is strictly regulated by the Children Act 1989, supplemented by the Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991. By their nature, applications to place a child into a secure unit arise either unexpectedly as a result of an emergency situation or as a result of the culmination of a number of incidents which place the child or those around the child at risk of injury or harm.
The nature of secure units is such that applications for placement within them are usually contested and often involve arguments regarding the right of the child to be present at the hearing, the role of the guardian and competing rights under ECHR legislation. In the event of an order being made, the secure placement is subject to its own review procedure and is open to challenge by appeal or judicial review.
This practitioner handbook provides a comprehensive analysis of the case-law and statutory provisions relating to the placement of a child in a secure unit. The analysis is supported by case summaries and an appendix of all relevant statutory material. In addition, the entire process of applying for an order is detailed, commencing with preapplication legal meetings and ending with an explanation of the appeal and judicial review procedure. The relevant court forms and a summary of the facilities and services at the 13 secure units currently available in England and Wales are set out in full for ease of reference.
The Secure Accommodation Handbook is a complete guide to the law, practice and procedure in relation to these applications which so fundamentally affect children, their freedom and the care planning for them.
- The History of Secure Accommodation
- General Principles
- The Grounds for Placing a Child into Secure Accommodation
- What is Secure Accommodation?
- Which Children can be Placed into Secure Accommodation?
- The Duration of Secure Accommodation Orders
- Before the Hearing
- The Hearing
- After the Hearing
- Statutory Materials
- Court Forms
- Secure Unit List
- In Relation to Accommodating a Child under the Age of 13
"a most timely and important publication ... comprehensively covers all aspects ... clear and concise ... a detailed practical guide to its operation ... This handy volume should be required reading both for those who are currently undertaking this work and for those who, after the introduction of the single Family Court, will be coming to it for the first time"
The Rt Hon Sir Andrew McFarlane
Listen and watch Phillip Taylor's
review on YouTube
"Described as a ‘comprehensive analysis of the case-law and statutory provisions relating to the placement of a child in a secure unit’, this book delivers on its promise. Usefully divided into clear sections, it helps the reader locate the information they require easily and efficiently... Taken as a whole, this is a valuable, extensive and practical guide to the complex area of secure accommodation. It would be beneficial to those coming across the area for the first time right through to experienced practitioners."
Director of Legal Practice, Coram Children’s Legal Centre
For a full review click here
In terms of consideration by the higher courts, Secure Accommodation has become something of a Cinderella subject in recent years. One hopes that such a turn of events demonstrates that this important area of the law is settled, well understood and working well. It may, however, also be a consequence of the fact that the current statutory scheme confines most Secure Accommodation applications to the magistrates’ court with appeals now going to the county court (rather than to the High Court, as was the position prior to 2009). The statutory scheme is due to change in April 2014 and it is anticipated that welfare-based Secure Accommodation applications, along with all other applications relating to children, will be issued in the new single Family Court and allocated to whichever level of judiciary is most appropriate for the individual application. This welcome change may well bring the issues raised in this important part of the jurisdiction relating to children into sharper focus, in a manner that is similar to that applied to the Deprivation of Liberty provisions heard in the Court of Protection under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
In the context that I have described, the Secure Accommodation Handbook, written by Julie Stather, is a most timely and important publication. The volume comprehensively covers all aspects of welfare-based Secure Accommodation Orders and helpfully sets the modern law in its historical context. In addition to a clear and concise description of the black-letter law, the work provides a detailed practical guide to its operation and is supported by a full summary of the top two dozen ‘need to know’ cases.
Although comparatively few Secure Accommodation Orders are made each year by the family courts, the impact of each and every one of those orders upon the damaged and vulnerable young individual who is on the receiving end of this ‘welfare’ decision is hard to understate. Every professional involved in these important cases owes both the child and the State a duty to understand fully the legal parameters within which the Secure Accommodation jurisdiction is operated. This handy volume should be required reading both for those who are currently undertaking this work and for those who, after the introduction of the single Family Court, will be coming to it for the first time.
The Rt Hon Sir Andrew McFarlane,
Lord Justice of Appeal
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