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Public law and Regulation

Case reports and guidance on public law and professional regulation issues

18 AUG 2015

R (on the application of Clarke) v London Borough of Sutton [2015] EWHC 1081 (Admin); (2015) PLLR 029

R (on the application of Clarke) v London Borough of Sutton [2015] EWHC 1081 (Admin); (2015) PLLR 029
Community care – Unreasonableness – Article 8

The Claimant, who suffered from epilepsy and various other conditions, was provided with accommodation and care by one local authority. The Claimant was then transferred to being within the remit of the Defendant, another local authority. The Defendant used the opinion of a social worker as the basis of their assessment that the Claimant did not require specialist care, ignoring other clear advice that this was incorrect. The decision was held to be unreasonable and to have unlawfully interfered with the Claimant’s Article 8 rights.

23 April 2015

Administrative Court

HHJ Sycamore

1. The Defendant local authority decided not to continue the Claimant’s placement with a specialist care provider that supported his complex needs, which included severe epilepsy and multiple other mental health and behavioural problems. The specific care given to the Claimant, which had been provided by Enfield Local Authority since 2011, included supported accommodation and specialist epileptic care. Recently, the Claimant was held to be ordinarily resident in the Defendant’s area and responsibility for the Claimant’s care thus shifted accordingly.

2. Prior to the Claimant being transferred to the Defendant’s area, the Claimant was reviewed by Enfield. The finding of that review was that the Claimant’s needs were considerable. However, the Defendant subsequently came to the view that the Claimant did not require specialist care. The Claimant contested this, providing evidence obtained from experts that he needed round-the-clock care and that there was a risk of death without it. Without consulting the Claimant, the Defendant then slightly upgraded the Claimant’s care package.


3. The central issue for the Court was whether the Defendant’s decision to not provide specialist care was lawful or not.


4. The Administrative Court accepted the Claimant’s argument, and quashed the Defendant’s decision.

5. In their assessment of legality, the courts were searching for procedural irregularity or bare irrationality. They took numerous factors into account in their assessment. For instance, the Claimant had been in receipt of the care in the past and experts and the previous care provider suggested its continuation. The Defendant did not seek the view of independent experts and relied on the view of a social worker, preferring it to the Claimant’s GP, consultant, nurse, and carer.

6. In addition, the Defendant was held to have unlawfully cut across the Claimant’s Article 8 right by expecting the Claimant to move from his accommodation to new accommodation where there was no care plan provided.

Key Paragraphs

[19] – Lack of expert assessment by the Defendant.

[26] – Claimant was already in receipt of care.

[28] – Need for reassessment and the unlawfulness of the original decision.

[29] – Unlawful inference with Article 8 right.
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