Mr Justice Hayden has just handed down a new Judgment concerning safeguarding those at risk of radicalisation: A Local Authority v Y  EWHC 968 (Fam) (27 April 2017).
The Judgment focuses on young people in the 14 – 18 age range and vulnerable adults who face risks of death and or exposure to degrading and inhuman treatment.
Martin Downs appeared with Natasha Watson and was instructed by Orbis law for Brighton & Hove City Council.
The case concerned Wardship proceedings and associated injunctions (based on Article 2) concerning Y to prevent him following in the footsteps of his brothers and friends – three of whom died fighting in Syria for Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.
The Judgment explores what support and protection can be offered to young people in the position of Y when they leave the protection of Wardship (especially as compared with Local Authority care).
In this case, the Local Authority devised a bespoke service around the young person’s needs largely mirroring that which would be granted to a care leaver. This was approved by the Court. The LA and the Court agreed that the provisions available when a young person turned 18 needed to be considered when choosing whether to make a child a ward of Court or the subject of a care order.
The Judgment contains a comprehensive survey of the relevant legal duties based on a paper submitted to the Court by Natasha Watson.
The Court also considered the possibility that the Court may be prepared to use the inherent jurisdiction to protect children and young adults in radicalised homes who may have had their will overborne to such a degree that their capacity to make decisions concerning their own safety may have become distorted.
Martin Downs appeared in the first cases where the Courts were asked to make civil orders to prevent children and young people being taken to Syria in 2015 and has appeared in about twenty such hearings subsequently. He has also written widely on the subject.
Members of Chambers have been involved in a series of cases concerning radicalisation and combatting terrorism in the last six months alone:
Oliver Sanders QC and Amelia Walker appeared for the Home Secretary in a judicial Review of the government’s counter-extremism strategy (Judgment awaited).
Oliver Sanders QC also acted as Counsel to the Intelligence Services Commissioner on his inquiry into the government’s responsibilities in relation to partner counter-terrorism units overseas.
Marina Wheeler QC appeared for the Home Secretary in her successful application for public interest immunity in the Radicalisation Case of C (A Child), Re (No 2) (Application for Public Interest Immunity)  EWHC 692.
The Judgment was significant as it reiterated the significance of the President’s Guidance – Radicalisation Cases in the Family Courts – dated 8 October 2015 and alternatives to public law proceedings – especially the ‘Channel Programme’, the ‘Desistence and Disengagement Programme’ (a new Home Office initiative) and taking steps to disrupt travel plans involving flight to a war zone by continued passport restrictions. The Court also made suggestion as to how applications for disclosure (of sensitive material) could be dealt with in the future.
David Evans QC was successful in an application to allow disclosure to the Security Service from Family Proceedings in X, Y and Z (Disclosure to the Security Service)  EWHC 2400.
David Manknell appeared in the Court of Appeal in ZX, R (on the application of) v The Secretary of State for Justice  EWCA Civ 155 which concerned licence conditions and family separation cases in the context of radicalisation.
Angus McCullough QC and Shaheen Rahman QC have appeared in many cases dealing with terrorism and the appropriateness of protective measures and recently acted as special advocates in R (on the application of MR) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 469 (Admin) (10 March 2017).
Marina Wheeler QC and Martin Downs have been interviewed on the BBC and written widely elsewhere on the legal issues thrown up by these cases.