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Public law and Regulation

Case reports and guidance on public law and professional regulation issues

03 JUL 2013

R (on the application of Mary George Ltd) v Care Quality Commission and Another [2013] EWHC 1341 (Admin); (2013) PLLR 077

Healthcare - Community Care - Care homes - Wednesbury unreasonableness

The Claimant had failed to provide services in accordance with its contractual obligations and the Defendants' findings in this regard were neither Wednesbury unreasonable nor irrational.

21 May 2013

Administrative Court

Supperstone J

(1)        The Claimant, a care home provider, challenged the Defendant's decisions made in August 2011. By its decisions, the Defendant decided to maintain its findings in a Review of Compliance Report (‘the report') relating to poor service standards; and to refuse to make referrals to the care home due non-compliance with the required standards.

(2)        The grounds for challenge were essentially that the decisions made were Wednesbury unreasonable. It also alleged that the Defendant's decisions constituted a breach of its Article 1 ECHR obligations.

(3)        The Defendant alleged that the decisions were not susceptible to judicial review due to them relating to standards required by a private contract between the parties.

(4)        Permission had been refused on the papers on 30 January 2013 and this was the renewed application.

(5)        HELD: The Court considered that the findings of the report that the care home was not meeting essential standards could not be successfully challenged on the basis of Wednesbury unreasonable grounds. The second Defendant had properly exercised its judgment that the services at the care home were not being provided in accordance with the contract and had given the Claimant time to put together an action plan.

(6)        Given the evidence available to the second Defendant, the Court held that the Claimant could not succeed in arguing that the decision to suspend new referrals was unreasonable, disproportionate or otherwise unlawful. The challenge regarding the decision to suspend referrals pending the resolution of concerns about the care home's standards was thus refused permission.

(7)        Given that the contract between the parties demanded services to be provided in accordance with the Health and Social Care Act 2008, the Court held that it was arguable that the Claimant could bring a claim for judicial review, rather than a private claim on the basis of the contract.

(8)        As to any claim under Article 1 ECHR, the Court held that if there had been any interference with possession or property rights it had been proportionate. Permission was refused, the Court finding that the claims were not arguable.

The claim was thus held to be totally without merit.

Permission refused.

Key paragraphs

[21] - No challenge to report as to standards.

[24] - Ground two no merit.

[25] - Public nature challenge.

[26] - Properly exercised judgment.

[29] - Decision not unlawful.

[30] - Proportionate.

[31] - Conclusion.

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