Section 20 Re S (A Child) and Re W (A Child) (s20 accommodation) [2023] Civ 1

Section 20 Re S (A Child) and Re W (A Child) (s20 accommodation) [2023] Civ 1

This was an appeal in relation to care orders made in 2 separate cases. The child in the first case was  aged 9 and the child in the second case was aged 15.

The Court of Appeal were invited to consider whether it was appropriate for final care orders to have been made for the two children or whether they should have continued to be accommodated under section 20 of the Children Act 1989.

The circumstances for both children included that they were settled in their long term placements, the placements were meeting the children’s needs and the placements were supported by the parents.

The Court of Appeal held that it is important to consider the “no order” principle and that a care order should not be made unless it is necessary and proportionate for the child’s welfare. The Court of Appeal confirmed that there is no time limit on the use of section 20 and therefore section 20 accommodation is not only used as a short term measure.

The Court of Appeal decided that the appeals should be allowed and therefore both children would remain in their long term placements under section 20.

The full case can be viewed here:

Maria Chainani is an associate in the family department specialising in representing parents, children and extended family members in care proceedings and private law children proceedings. Maria is contactable on 01268 240400