A series of cases applying for "judicial detention" listed before District Judge Marin have now been referred to the Vice President in what the judge referred to as a "complete impasse" because of the unavailability of litigation friends. The judge noted an increase of such cases following the Court of Appeal's decision in Re X. Some were plainly substantive welfare disputes which would proceed accordingly. However others were cases where the only issue was the need to authorise a deprivation of liberty. The Official Solicitor had written to the court explaining that it would be impossible for him to accept an invitation to act in the anticipated number of cases. DJ Marin considered whether a Rule 3A representative ( as opposed to a legal representative) could be a suitable means of allowing P's participation, given that the Court of Appeal's obiter dicta inRe X
strongly suggests P should be a party. He has asked the President to consider a number of questions, summarised here: - whether P must be a party in all deprivation of liberty cases -whether family members with an interest in the case can be litigation friends - whether a Rule 3A representative was sufficient in such cases and - whether cases raising similar issues should be stayed pending determination of the above issues. You can read the judgment here.
We will keep you up to date with further developments.