Home for life – care in the community – leaning disability – legitimate expectation
The court held that a Health Authority had taken a legitimate decision to move a learning disabled client out of a long term NHS facility, and the judicial review of that decision failed, notwithstanding an allegation that a promise of a home for life had been given to relatives.
The woman had lived in a residential unit for over 10 years and consequently had a good claim to an article 8 right to respect for her ‘home’. When she was reconsidered under the Health Authority’s criteria for long term care, the decision was made that she should be provided with care and accommodation within the community instead. The court declined to find as a fact that there had been any promise of a home for life, and put the assertion down to the uncertainty as to what had been said at the time. In any event, even if there had been one, the court was prepared to state that even then, the change of position would not have been unfair or incompatible with Convention rights. Coughlan was distinguished because this was not a facility closure, not a decision actuated by financial reasons. The decision was based on a proper consideration of her needs; the criteria were not unlawful, and the move was supported by government policy guidance for people with learning disabilities.