Jones v Isle of Wight

Registered care homes – fees – dispute

A care home owner has established the right to payment of a fair price against the Isle of Wight Council in the absence of a finalised contract for the future, so far as price was concerned. The Council had argued that the home’s keeping the client and continuing to care established his agreement to provide at the old rate under a contract which had expired; alternatively that he had agreed by his conduct to extend the old contract. The home owner argued that the Council’s failure to remove the client amounted to acceptance of the rate he said he was prepared to provide at.

The judge decided that the facts showed both parties anticipated eventual agreement and in those circumstances gave the home owner judgment for payment of a reasonable price, as to which evidence was to be put in later, if the amount was not agreed. The judge also said that the statutory framework in which the Council operated put a high onus on it to conduct fees negotiations promptly and to avoid this kind of dispute.

In a completely unrelated case, Vedatech Corp v Crystal Decisions (UK) Ltd, judgment for a reasonable price in the absence of a concluded contract, was held to include a sum for the provider’s profit, not just time and materials.

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