House of Lords judgement on definition of a public authority

On 20 June 2007, The House of Lords handed down its judgment in the case of YL v Birmingham City Council and others which explored the definition of ‘public authority’ under section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

By a majority of 3 to 2. the Law Lords held that that a private care home providing accommodation to elderly residents under contract with a local authority was not itself exercising ‘functions of a public nature’ for the purposes of the Human Rights Act 1998. Consequently, the care home was not bound under section 6(1) of the HRA to act in accordance with rights protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.

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