Conditions for imposition of MRCs
3.0 A Children's Hearing cannot include an MRC in an order unless it is fully satisfied that one or more of the conditions mentioned in s.83(6) of the Act is met, specifically:
(a) that the child has previously absconded and is likely to
abscond again and, if the child were to abscond, it is likely that
the child's physical, mental or moral welfare would be at risk,
(b) that the child is likely to engage in self-harming conduct,
(c) that the child is likely to cause injury to another person.
3.1 These conditions are identical to those that must be met prior to the inclusion in an order of a secure accommodation authorisation as outlined in s.83(5) of the Act. The informal historical practice of referring to the "secure criteria" might usefully therefore be updated to the "secure and MRC criteria".
3.2 The other significant feature of the legislation is the explicit requirement outlined in s. 83(5)(c) that prior to the inclusion in an order of a secure accommodation authorisation "the other options available (including a movement restriction condition)" have been considered. It is essential that practitioners are aware of this provision and ensure that the process of considering alternatives to secure accommodation is not cursory but thorough, robust and transparent.