The president of the Family Division has announced the launch of a National Deprivation of Liberty (DoLs) Court on 4 July 2022.
This is in response to the ever-increasing number of cases involving the High Court being asked to authorise the deprivation of liberty of those under 18 under its inherent jurisdiction. The number of these applications rose per year from 108 in 2018-2019 to 579 in 2020-2021. A 462% rise as revealed in research published earlier this year by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory.
The DoLs Court, which will be supported by two Family High Court/deputy High Court judges and a dedicated administrative team, will deal with applications seeking authorisation to deprive children of their liberty and will be based at the Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ) under the leadership of Mr. Justice Moor. From 4 July 2022, all new applications seeking these orders will be issued in the RCJ.
This is important, sensitive work and the continued growth in the number of these applications to the family courts requires the creation of a dedicated listing protocol.