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Parents' consent could make all children confinement lawful

The latest rulings on ?the confinement of children suggest that even the most draconian decisions will be lawful ?if made with the ?parents’ consent, ?says David Hewitt

30 July 2012

Children have often been sent to psychiatric hospitals by their parents. In the first years of the present century, the European Court of Human Rights changed its mind about that practice, coming to criticise what it had once condoned. Recently, however, the Court of Appeal has taken a different view.

In Nielsen, where the mother of a 12-year-old boy had arranged for him to be admitted for psychiatric care, the ECtHR said the restrictions on him were no different from those to which many children are subject when they are admitted to hospital (Nielsen v Denmark [2000] ECHR 81, (2001) 33 EHRR 9).

The court held the boy hadn’t been deprived of liberty; that his mother’s a...

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