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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

16 JUN 2011

VULNERABLE ADULT/LOCAL AUTHORITY: Buckinghamshire County Council v Kingston upon Thames Royal Borough Council [2011] EWCA Civ 457

(Court of Appeal; Pill, Patten and Munby LJJ; 19 April 2011) 

An adult with epilepsy and learning difficulties arrived from Uganda as child and the first local authority placed her in a home run by National Society for Epilepsy (NSE) within the area of the second authority.  The first authority continued to pay for this under deeming provision, which provided that she was ‘ordinarily resident' in first local authority immediately before residential accommodation provided. In an annual review the adult expressed a wish to move into supported living with friends and a bungalow nearby was identified as suitable, and she duly moved there. The first local authority sought to transfer responsibility for community care services to the second local authority but the second local authority argued the decision to move her was unlawful because the first authority had failed to consult them. Judge ruled move had been lawful, in that the first authority had no duty to act fairly towards second authority.

Appeal dismissed. There was no legal basis upon which a duty of fairness as between authorities could be identified when exercising powers in performance of a duty to a vulnerable adult. Court could not create such a duty.

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