Review of situation of teenager detained in UK under wardship – 2019vol1#2

A review was held in the High Court regarding a minor under the wardship of the court who was being detained in the UK in a unit providing specialist mental healthcare in psychiatric intensive care units.

The teenager (A) had been made a ward of court four months’ previously in order to facilitate her transfer out of the jurisdiction for therapeutic treatment. A had been detained in secure care since 2017 under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court prior to her transfer out of the jurisdiction.

In 2018 the High Court began to operate under statute rather than inherent jurisdiction, the Child Care Amendment Act 2011 had been commenced and it stipulated that special care orders must be applied for under Part IVa of the 1991 Act as amended. However, Part IVa did not provide for the making of long-term orders for detention in special care mental health therapeutic services outside of the jurisdiction, therefore the High Court judge made an order that A be placed in the mental health facility outside of the jurisdiction, in the UK, under the court’s protection. The order made by the High Court judge in Ireland regarding wardship would then be mirrored by the Court of Protection in London.

In seeking wardship initially, the CFA had sought to place the young person in the UK facility for a minimum of six months due to her very disturbed conduct engaged in over a number of years. She had a very troubled history, the court heard, and although she had been in special care since 2017 and had the benefit of regular psychiatric and psychological input she did not exhibit any huge improvement in her behaviour. A was showing a lot of aggression with outbursts.

Her behaviour was so aggressive that the teenager was brought to the UK via an Air Corps flight because she could not be dealt with on a commercial flight.

During the wardship review the report from A’s treating child and adolescent psychiatrist indicated that her mental health issues had to be addressed and she still had to get used to her single occupancy unit. She was spending most of her time in there and not integrating with her peers. However, it appeared she was progressing and the placement was achieving a welfare benefit for her.

The guardian ad litem (GAL) report indicated that there was an on-going police investigation arising out of assaults the teenager had carried out in the mental health facility and the constabulary in the UK were involved. The GAL recommended that her detention should continue. A child in care review meeting was due to be held the day after the wardship review.

The court noted that the detention order that had been granted by the Irish court and substituted by the High Court of London was appropriate as were the ancillary entitlements he had given to the medical team treating A. The judge granted liberty to apply to all the parties in any further court intervention was needed between then and the next review date.