R (on the application of Rutter) v Stockton on Tees Borough Council [2008] QBD (Admin) 3/10/2008

In this case the applicant, R (who was 101 years old, suffered from dementia and was frail), sought a judicial review of the decision by the Local Authority to close a care home owned and operated by them where R was resident. The Local Authority conducted a review of the care home and put before cabinet members a report detailing the various options for the homes future as well as additional relevant research materials. Following the decision to close the home some council members initiated a call in procedure, concerned that the closure and relocation of residents could have an adverse effect on the health and lives of residents. This report was considered by a scrutiny committee who upheld the decision close. R challenged on the basis that insufficient consideration had been given by the Local Authority to the risk to the health of residents by the closure.

Although the judge felt that this risk had not been properly identified at the time the initial decision was taken by the cabinet meeting, the terms of the call-in had meant that the potential impact on the residents had been fully considered in a focused manner by the scrutiny committee. As such by the time the Local Authority had made the decision it had taken into account all relevant issues and therefore the decision was lawful.

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