Case details

Williams and another (Appellants) v London Borough of Hackney (Respondent)

Case ID: UKSC 2017/0037

Case summary


The lawfulness of the accommodation of the appellants’ children by the respondent under section 20 of the Children Act 1989


On 5 July 2007 the appellants’ children were taken into police protection pursuant to s 46 of the Children Act 1989 in response to allegations of assault and neglect. The appellants were granted police bail, a condition of which was that no unsupervised contact was permitted with the children. The respondent local authority placed the children with foster parents and sought the appellants’ consent to continue the accommodation under s 20 after the police protection period ended. The appellants shortly thereafter objected to the accommodation beyond 23 July 2007 pursuant to s 20(7) but the children were not returned to them until 11 September 2007 after the bail condition was lifted. Criminal proceedings against the appellants were later discontinued. After pursuing complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman, the appellants issued proceedings for damages for misfeasance in public office, negligence, religious discrimination and for breach of their rights under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Judgment appealed

[2017] EWCA Civ 26


  1. John Williams
  2. Adenike Williams

London Borough of Hackney



Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lady Black

Hearing start date

14 Feb 2018

Hearing finish date

15 Feb 2018

Watch hearing
14 Feb 2018 Morning session Afternoon session
15 Feb 2018 Morning session Afternoon session