R (on the application of South West Care Homes Ltd) v Devon County Council [2012] EWHC 2967(Admin)

Case No: CO/6626/2012

Date

7 November 2012

Link to judgment

R (on the application of South West Care Homes Ltd) v Devon County Council [2012] EWHC 2967(Admin)

Discrimination grounds

Age & Disability

Summary of case

The Claimants owned and operated 400 care homes in Devon. These homes had elderly and/or disabled residents some of whom paid fees directly and some who had their fees paid by Devon County. The Claimants brought a judicial review challenging the decision taken by the Devon County Council in setting the usual rates to be paid for the provision of residential accommodation.

The Claimants argued that the fees were so low that some of the homes would no longer be financially viable and were at risk of closure and deteriorating conditions and quality of care. They claimed that the decision was in breach of the equality duty, having failed to consider the potential discriminatory impact on elderly and disabled residents of setting such low rates.

The Council argued its assessment of residents’ needed satisfied the requirements of section 47 of the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990.

Outcome

The Court held that the Council’s fee structure approach failed ’to have due regard, in substance or with rigour or with an open mind, to the need to eliminate discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity amongst elderly or disabled residents’.