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Child in Need, Indeed


The Supreme Court has handed down judgment in the case of R (A) v Croydon and R (M) v Lambeth [2009] UKSC 8.  This is an important decision about the duty of LAs under s.20(1) of the Children Act 1989 to “provide accommodation for any child in need within their area”.  We will look at this judgment in more detail soon [edit: see here], but for now what you need to know is:

  1. The courts can review whether a person is a “child” for the purposes of the Children Act 1989, this is a separate question to whether they are “in need”;
  2. Ordinary domestic judicial review can be adapted to deal with this where necessary;
  3. If s.20(1) does give rise to a “civil right” for Art 6 purposes it is close to the boundary of that concept (per Baroness Hale); or
  4. The duty of a LA under s.20(1) does not give rise to a “civil right” (per Lord Hope);
  5. If it is a civil right conventional judicial review is enough to comply with Art 6.

The appeal was therefore allowed.  Points 3, 4 and 5 are obiter.

Our report on the Court of Appeal decision is here.

chief is a barrister in the big city. he specialises in public law, landlord & tenant, football and rock 'n' roll (the last two are only when his clerks aren't watching). he sometimes pops by here, but not as often as he'd like. he will occasionally eschew capital letters. the reasons for this odd affectation are lost in the mists of time.


  1. Banjo Moomintoog

    Just to clarify – “review” in the sense of making its own decision on the matter, not judicially review. Better get the queue quickly at the admin court…

    • chief

      Yes, determine on the balance of probabilities, but in the course of judicial review proceedings.


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