Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel QC, Henry Witcomb and 1COR door tenant, Duncan Fairgrieve, have intervened in these high profile Supreme Court cases which are considering whether people who have severe learning difficulties and are placed into care are deprived of their liberty under Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Elizabeth-Anne, Henry and Duncan are representing the AIRE Centre which is a charity that promotes awareness of rights under European law and assists marginalised individuals.

The cases being used to test the law in this area are as follows.

P has severe physical and learning disabilities. He lacks the mental capacity to make decisions as to his care and residence. In November 2009, he was placed into care pursuant to a court order.

P has a history of shredding his continence pads and putting them in his mouth. Various techniques have been used to tackle the problem. Non-physical methods are attempted but staff members do sometimes have to resort to physical intervention.

P and Q are sisters who are severely mentally impaired.

Until 2007, both of them lived with their mother. Their lives were dysfunctional and abusive. By the time of the first instance hearing, P was living with a foster carer and Q was living in a specialist NHS children’s home. P and Q’s contact with their mother was restricted by Court, and they were not permitted to live with her.