R (RO) v East Riding of Yorkshire Council: Court of Appeal judgment on inter-play between s20 Children Act 1989 and Part IV of the Education Act 1996

Wednesday 2 March 2011

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R (RO) v East Riding of Yorkshire Council:
Court of Appeal judgment on inter-play between s20 Children Act 1989 and Part IV of the Education Act 1996

The Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in R (RO) v East Riding of Yorkshire Council allowing the Appeal and quashing the Council's decision. The Appellant is a vulnerable 15 year old boy with severe autism and severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The decision challenged was the termination of his "looked after" status under s.20 Children Act 1989 ("CA89") on the basis that a suitable residential school had been named in part 4 of his statement of special educational need issued under s.324 Education Act 1996 ('EA96'), an institution capable of meeting his social as well as his educational needs.

This appeal presented the first opportunity, at appellate level, to explore the relationship between the CA89 and EA96, particularly the inter-play between the 'Looked After Child' regime under ss20, 22 and 23, CA89 ("LAC status") and when and how the duty to accommodate children could be lawfully terminated under s20, CA89. The Secretary of State for Education intervened against the Appellant.

Although s.20, CA 89 has been the subject of much litigation in recent years, it has to date been limited to consideration of the inter-play between the CA89 regime and the Housing Act 1996.

The Court has now decided that the EA96 does not and cannot in these circumstances supplant and supersede the CA89 LAC Regime.

For a copy of the full judgment, click here.

For a detailed press release about the case, click here.

The Appellant was represented by Nicholas Bowen QC and Shu Shin Luh.

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