Megan had a learning disability and sometimes behaved in a way some people found difficult. She had been living with her mum. People were worried that there was abuse, so Megan was moved to an NHS residential unit. Megan had staff with her whenever she left the unit.

The court was asked to decide whether Megan’s right to liberty was being restricted. The court said everyone has human rights and the right to liberty applies to people with a learning disability in the same way as everyone else. The court decided that Megan’s right to liberty was being restricted because she was not allowed to leave on her own and was always controlled by staff.

When things like Megan’s story happen a ‘Deprivation of Liberty Authorisation’ needs to be made so that checks and safeguards are put in place to make sure the restriction of liberty is necessary and justified.

(This is based on the case of P and Q v Surrey County Council, 2014, better known as the ‘Cheshire West Case’. We made up the name.)