Mr Smith (S) challenged by way of judicial review a decision by the Local Authority to effectively restrict his liberty by imposing a condition that on him leaving his residence he must be supervised. S, who had mild learning disabilities, was the subject of a sexual offences prevention order which prevented him from contacting children. S had wished to travel, unsupervised, to visit his sick mother in another part of the UK. The Local Authority argued that, because of his disability, the order was to be interpreter as to require supervision at all times outside of his home.
The Court, granting the application, held that as this involved the restriction of a person’s liberty the order must be interpreted at face value, one could not read into it anything more. This particular order did not impose a requirement for supervision outside of his home and therefore these could not be applied by the Local Authority. The Court explained that the lawfulness of the interpretation of the order could have been determined through common law principles without the need to have considered the European Convention on Human Rights. Any breach of his Human Rights that may have occurred and consequential damages would need to be determine, if necessary through the county court.