The Administrative Court has heard this week two judicial review claims challenging decisions taken by Government to downgrade statutory entitlements for children and young people during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first claim, brought by the children’s rights charity Article 39, challenged the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. These Regulations modified or removed a series of obligations placed on local authorities in relation to looked after children. Further information is available on the Article 39 website. Jenni Richards QC and Steve Broach act for Article 39 in the claim, with Khatija Hafesji of Monckton Chambers, instructed by Oliver Studdert of Irwin Mitchell. The hearing took place before Mrs Justice Lieven on 27 and 28 July 2020.
The second claim, brought by two families of children with special educational needs and disabilities (‘SEND’), challenged (i) three statutory Notices issued under the Coronavirus Act 2020 which downgraded the duties to provide education and health services for children and young people with EHC Plans to a ‘reasonable endeavours’ duty, and (ii) regulations which amended the timeframes for various steps in the EHC Plan process where a ‘coronavirus exception’ applies. Further information is available here. Steve Broach acts for the claimant families in the claim, with Alice Irving of One Crown Office Row, instructed by Polly Sweeney of Scott-Moncrieff and Associates. The hearing took place before Mr Justice Kerr on 29 and 30 July 2020.