A High Court judge has quashed a decision to transfer a teenager with complex psychiatric needs to England to receive treatment.
Mr Justice Treacy ruled health authorities failed to properly take into account concerns raised by the family of the 16-year-old boy.
The teenager, who cannot be named, was to be moved to facilities in Northampton because there is no appropriate secure unit in Northern Ireland.
But the initial three-month transfer, at an estimated cost of £100,000, was put on hold in March after judicial review proceedings were launched.
It was claimed that the plan breached rights to privacy and family life.
Lawyers also argued that the Department of Health failed to exercise its discretion properly and raised a further point about a requirement to seek consent from a patient for mental treatment.
Ruling on the case, the judge noted that the authorities had not seen an expert medical report before ordering the transfer.
Mr Justice Treacy said there was no evidence the department carried out a balancing exercise.
“The court has therefore concluded that the respondent, by failing to consider the objections to transfer and possible significant disadvantage ... did not take into account all relevant considerations.
“For those reasons the decision must be quashed.”
His ruling means the department must now carry out a new process, with consideration given to all available information.
A solicitor representing the teenager expressed his satisfaction at the outcome. Gerry Hyland said: “We are very pleased that the court has recognised the need to involve the patient and his family in the decision-making process.”
Mr Hyland said the department used a template document to set out the terms upon which the decision to transfer was based.
“They had a 20-page report from an English consultant psychiatrist who came over to assess his needs for further treatment in England,” he added.
“The department made the decision without seeing that document and its contents, which were very illuminating as to what this young person needs.”
Pointing to the estimated £100,000 cost of the planned three-month treatment, the solicitor insisted: “It's a huge expense and they should have applied a careful consideration.”