Court orders further consideration of the realistic options for P before proceeding with a full hearing

Friday 4 November 2016

A Local Authority v X [2016] EWCOP 44, Holman J, 25 October 2016

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A Local Authority v X [2016] EWCOP 44, Holman J, 25 October 2016

X, now aged 32, fell off a roof and incurred profound injuries. He was tetraplegic and suffered frontal lobe damage. When residing at his adapted home his health deteriorated and his home care package broke down. He was admitted to hospital where he was cared for in a specialist unit. He had not been home since December 2015. He found his situation deeply frustrating and longed to return home.

At an interim hearing it was decided that a trial of his care at home should be explored. The local authority’s calculated cost of the home care package was £466,000 per annum (1.5% of its adult social care budget), which it stated was unsustainable in the long term and it was unwilling to fund. The case had been listed for a future four-day hearing to determine the issues of capacity and best interests.

The judge stated he was “frankly, deeply concerned at the prospect of incurring yet further tens of thousands of pounds of expenditure of public funds on some abstract determination of capacity if, realistically, there is no choice on the way forward for this particular patient in his circumstances”.

Therefore the question should now be answered by the local authority, “what minimum and lesser level of care the local authority would be willing to fund if he does have capacity to decide to return home and does, in fact, choose to return home?” and X given the opportunity to reflect upon the answer to that question.

In light of the answer to the question posed to the local authority, the court would, at a shorter hearing before the trial, decide whether there was any real point or purpose in the projected much longer hearing taking place the following week.

Full judgment:

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