Abdul Wahid v Tower Hamlets LBC [2002] EWCA Civ 287 (CA)

Suitable accommodation – Part III and s21 National Assistance Act 1948 – s47 National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 – care and attention – duty to provide accommodation – otherwise available

The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision. The local authority conceded that the expression residential accommodation in s21 NAA 1948 can mean ordinary accommodation in flats and houses as well as institutional or sheltered accommodation. However, in this case, although Mr Wahid’s housing needs were acknowledged to be acute by the Approved Social Worker, he had not been assessed as having a need for care and attention which was not otherwise available to him. It was irrelevant that the assessment in question was conducted under s47(1) NHSCCA 1990 rather than s21 NAA 1948: the material available on the s47(1) assessment was relevant to an assessment under the 1948 Act.

It was for the local authority, and not the Court, to decide whether the applicant was in need of care and attention not otherwise available to him. The fact that the Mr Wahid was in receipt of s117 MHA 1983 after-care services did not necessarily require a finding that he was in need of care and attention not otherwise available to him. The conclusion that the overcrowding did not create a need for care and attention was not irrational and was properly reached.

The case was distinguishable from the Batantu case where it appeared to have been accepted that the family’s unsatisfactory housing situation was likely to have been one of the factors which maintained the claimant’s psychiatric illness.

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