In July 2022 the President of the Family Division launched the national deprivation of liberty court. Based at the Royal Courts of Justice, it deals with all new applications seeking authorisation to deprive children of their liberty under the inherent jurisdiction and will run for a 12-month pilot phase initially. Nuffield Family Justice Observatory was invited to collect and publish data on these applications.
Since July 2022, Nuffield Family Justice Observatory have published monthly briefings highlighting high level data trends: July and August, September, October, November, December, January and February. In the most recent month, March 2023, there were 126 applications.
This briefing highlights high-level data trends during the first nine months of the court pilot.
Between July 2022 and March 2023, the national DoL court issued a total of 1035 applications.
The applications were made by 149 different local authorities and 17 other applicants (usually hospital or mental health trusts). Those issued by hospital trusts are usually to authorise restrictions of children’s liberty in hospital when the child may not be in the care of the local authority, or where the local authority is also a party in the case.