In P (by the Official Solicitor) v Cheshire West & Chester Council, and P & Q (by the Official Solicitor) v Surrey County Council the Supreme Court has today declared that three severely mentally disable people who were placed in community living arrangements by local authorities are deprived of their liberty, thereby coming within the protections of Article 5 of the European Convention. This reverses decisions of the Court of Appeal. From now on, in order to determine whether people in similar situations are deprived of their liberty the question is: whether they were under the continuous supervision and control of the authorities and are not free to leave. This decision has implications for many thousands of mentally incapacitated people in England and Wales who may now have effective legal protections.

Simon Burrows acted for P in the Cheshire West case from first instance to the Supreme Court.

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