Autistic Teenager ‘Unlawfully Deprived Of Liberty’

Specialists Representing C Welcome Court of Protection Ruling


Legal specialists at Irwin Mitchell representing an autistic teenager who was locked in a padded room several times a day have welcomed the Court of Protection’s ruling that he was unlawfully deprived of his liberty.

The boy, who has severe learning difficulties and was referred to throughout the case as C, was locked in the so-called ‘Blue Room’ more than six times a day when specialists wanted to control his actions.

However, the family of C became concerned over the use of the room and fell into a dispute with those responsible for his care over its continued use.

Now, experts at Irwin Mitchell have helped their family in the battle for justice over the case, with Mr Justice Ryder at the Court of Protection ruling the move was unlawful as no court order had been sought over depriving C of his liberty.

The social care case is just the latest high-profile one that the firm’s Public Law specialists have acted in, following their recent successful legal challenge over Birmingham City Council’s plans to cut their adult social care budgets.

Mathieu Culverhouse, a specialist in cases related to the human rights of vulnerable members of society, said: “The case of C is a shocking and tragic one in which the responsible authorities failed to obtain the specific legal authorisation needed to deprive someone of their liberty.

“While the judge at the Court of Protection rightly outlined how this was a complex case, it is vital that the most vulnerable members of society have access to the care and support which is best suited to their needs.

“A large number of families and individuals rely heavily on the care provided by specialist homes, hospitals and school, so it is vital that lessons are learnt from the failings identified in this case.

“This High Court judgment provides very helpful guidance to professionals across the country and I hope that it will ensure that no individuals or families face the same problems in the future. Proper advice and planning with expert advice could well have avoided the distress which was evident in this case.

Commenting on the case, the mother of C said: “I thank Mr Justice Ryder for his commitment to C's case and all those within the Court who fought to ensure that the truth would out.

“His brother and I hope that others in an extremely vulnerable position may be spared the harm that C has endured, as well as the ordeal which we have suffered in having to witness his deterioration within the 'Blue Room' over a significant period of time.

“This judgment has offered some solace that our concerns regarding the treatment of C, which were repeatedly ignored by the responsible authorities, have rightfully been vindicated.”