High Court continues detention of a young ward of court in UK hospital – 2019vol2#12

The President of the High Court continued orders previously made in respect of the detention of a young ward of court in a hospital in the United Kingdom (UK) until January 2020, with the expectation that the young girl could return to an appropriate facility with the necessary supports in Ireland prior to her reaching the age of majority.

The President of the High Court directed that the previous order under section 27 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008 prohibiting the identification of the young girl as a person suffering with a medical condition was to remain in place.

The CFA barrister told the court that there was a long history in respect of the young ward of court prior to her placement in the hospital in the UK in March 2019 as there had been difficulties in acquiring a placement. The court was told that the young girl suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was due to reach her age of majority in mid-2020.

There were reports available to the court that stated that the girl found it difficult to engage with psychologists and she had self-harm issues. The barrister for the CFA told the court that the young girl was “doing reasonably well” in the hospital in the UK but had self-harm issues and aggression. He said that she was engaging with cognitive behavioural therapy and psychology and was also engaged with education.

CFA barrister: “It was initially thought she could be returned to this jurisdiction in December but [the hospital] are advising it should be postponed to the New Year prior to her attaining majority.”

The court was told that it was the most appropriate placement to provide her with continuity and as matters were progressing “reasonably well” the order should remain in place.

The barrister for the CFA told the court that he was asking court to adjourn the matter for further consideration with the orders continuing to a date early in January in order to inform the court of the placement she will return to in this jurisdiction.

There was a discussion between the President of the High Court and the barristers for the CFA and the general solicitor, who is responsible for liaising with the UK courts,  relating to the necessary documentation.

Judge: “The order made has been in place since 10th July. More of this last-minute material is thrown together. It is under regular review and there is no reason why papers are not prepared.”

The barrister for the general solicitor referred to an affidavit that reported that the young girl has engaged but lacks motivation and as she oversleeps in the morning this has disrupted her medication regime.

The court was told that the committee was supportive of the continued detention as her current presentation “appears more authentic”.

The judge noted that the hope was that he would have been considering a more immediate return but having reviewed the evidence it was not the case and he was supportive of continuous detention in the hospital in the UK for the coming months.

Judge: “There has been a dip in presentation recently but the overall thrust is one of progress and improvement.”

The judge said that plans needed to be in place for the young girl coming home and the plans needed “to start now” and that it was a sensible suggestion that an independent psychiatrist review the case.

Judge: “I propose to make the orders sought for continued detention with all the ancillary entitlements in the past to continue to a date in January. The expectation is that if progress continues there will be in place a plan to return her to an appropriate facility with appropriate supports and then the planning of consideration of adult wardship for her.

The judge listed the matter for review for end January 2020 and said that it was “ample time for all of those steps to be taken”. The judge said that the costs of the committee were to be taxed in default of agreement.