In Re C (A Minor) (Medical Treatment: Court’s Jurisdiction); Re C (Detention: Medical Treatment): FD 21 Mar 1997

A children’s clinic is not secure accommodation, and the court may make orders for his or her treatment whilst in the clinic. The court discussed whether the state had power if necessary to detain a child using its parens patriae powers to give necessary medical treatment. Wall J analysed the permissible use of force in the case of children. As to submissions made on behalf of the child: ‘I take the force of these submissions, and entirely agree with Mr Wood that if it is appropriate to make an order under the inherent jurisdiction in this case, the order should be time-limited, and have built into it stringent safeguards to protect the interests of C. I am also of the view, however, that C’s best safeguard is legal representation and access to the court through her lawyers. Clearly any order must contain liberty to apply on short notice.’ He went on to identify considerations which should be borne in mind by the court when deciding whether, and if so on what terms, to make an order under the parens patriae jurisdiction directing the detention of a child in a specified institution for the purposes of medical treatment: ‘. . (3) Any order the court makes must be based upon and justified by convincing evidence from appropriate experts that the treatment regime proposed
(a) accords with expert medical opinion, and
(b) is therapeutically necessary.
(4) Any order the court makes should direct or authorise the minimum degree of force or restraint, and in the case of an order directing or authorising the detention of the child the minimum period of detention, consistent with the welfare principle.
(5) Any order directing or authorising the detention of the child should
(a) specify the place where the child is to be detained,
(b) specify (i) the maximum period for which the detention is authorised and, if thought appropriate, (ii) a date on which the matter is to be reviewed by the court, and
(c) specify, so far as possible, a place whose location imposes the minimum impediments on easy and regular access between parents and child.
(6) Any order directing or authorising the detention of the child should contain an express liberty to any party (including the child) to apply to the court for further directions on the shortest reasonable notice.’


Wall J


Gazette 03-Apr-1997, Times 21-Mar-1997, [1997] 2 FLR 180


Children Act 1989 25


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedRegina (Howard League for Penal Reform) v Secretary of State for the Home Department QBD 29-Nov-2002
The League challenged the respondent’s statement in the Prisons’ Handbook that children held in young offender institutions were not subject to the protection of the 1989 Act.
Held: Neither the Prison Act and Rules excluded the Prison . .
CitedIn re PS (an Adult), Re; City of Sunderland v PS by her litigation friend the Offcial Solcicitor and CA; Re PS (Incapacitated or Vulnerable Adult) FD 9-Mar-2007
The patient an elderly lady with limited mental capacity was to be returned from hospital, but her daughter said she was to come home. The local authority sought to prevent this, wanting to return her to a residential unit where she had lived for . .
CitedIn re D (A Child) SC 26-Sep-2019
D, a young adult had a mild learning disability and other more serious conditions. He was taken into a hospital providing mental health services. The external door was locked, and a declaration was sought to permit this deprivation of his liberty, . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, Health

Updated: 19 April 2022; Ref: scu.81787