R (on the application of NASSERY) v Brent London Borough Council (2010)

This case looked at what might amount to a need for care and attention such as to qualify a person for provision of accommodation under s21 of the National Assistance Act 1948. Mr Nassery applied to the local authority for an assessment and provision under s21NNA on the basis that he suffered mental health problems required assistance to access medical assistance, and to prepare and cook food which he found difficult to do alone due to lapses in concentration which were linked to his mental ill health. Mr Nassery had a history of self harming, including numerous suicide attempts and had required occasional hospitalisation to treat his mental health problems. He provided medical evidence setting out that he had various mental health problems, including anxiety and stress and was a medium risk of intentional suicide and a high risk of unintentional suicide. The defendants, having completed their assessment, concluded that he was not in need of care and attention and Mr Nassery sought to challenge this finding, by way of Judicial Review. In particular he argued that the decision was flawed for not having taken into account recent episodes of self harm.

The Court were satisfied that the local authority had taken into account all relevant evidence when making its decision; in particular it noted that full regard had been given to his medical history and hospital admissions and that the assessment had benefitted from the opinion of experts on the level of his need,  occupational health and risk assessments. The Judge commented that the local authority were justified in not taking into account the recent episodes of self harm as Mr Nassery had not mentioned these to the experts, he had not accessed any medical assistance (other than his GP) when the episodes occurred, and had no marks to indicate he had self harmed. Therefore the local authority were justified to conclude that the risk of future self harm was not sufficiently serious to require local authority intervention. Further, in terms of his underlying mental health issues, these were being adequately met by his GP. The Court was not satisfied there was any evidence to support his contention that he required local authority assistance to access medical support. Finally the Judge commented that his statements that he was unable to cook for himself contradicted an earlier statement by him. The Judge therefore concluded that Mr Nassery’s needs did not amount to care and attention as defined by the House of Lords in R (on the application of M) v Slough BC (2008) and that he did not require local authority support under s21 NAA.

Application refused, note however this matter was heard by the Court of Appeal in February 2011 and judgement is pending.

 

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