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Barnsley MBC v GS [2014] EWCOP 46, [2014] MHLO 124

"I very respectfully do not agree with the reasoning in paragraph 6 of the guidance [which was issued jointly by the Ofsted and the President of the Court of Protection on 12/2/14]. There is nothing in either the legislation, or the regulations, or the [National Minimum Standards for Children's Homes] which has the effect that a children's home, which is not an approved secure children's home, is 'unable' to deprive a person of his liberty. ... The NMS 3.19 and 12.7 themselves state that 'No children's home/school ... restricts the liberty of any child as a matter of routine...' Whilst never a matter of routine, those very standards clearly contemplate that a home or school may have to restrict liberty as a matter of non-routine. Such restraint may involve a deprivation of liberty as now understood and, in my view, the unqualified proposition in paragraph 4 of the guidance that there is no purpose to be served in seeking an order of the Court of Protection goes too far. So, accordingly, does the proposition in paragraph 6 and the summary in paragraph 13 of the guidance. In my view, there can indeed be circumstances in which the Court of Protection may authorise a children's home or residential special school to impose restraint which amounts to a deprivation of liberty, and the guidance is mistaken in suggesting that the effect of the NMS is necessarily to prevent the court from doing so."

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