R (Worcestershire CC) v Essex CC [2014] EWHC 3557 (Admin), [2014] MHLO 104

In this case Essex argued that VC lacked capacity to have consented to her place of residence, and therefore had not been resident in Essex for the purposes of s117. The result would be either that VC had no place of residence, or remained resident at the last place she lived in before she lost capacity to decide for herself. They were unsuccessful. Extract from judgment: "I do not however read these passages as deciding that a person cannot acquire residence in a place unless he does so voluntarily. Still less do they decide that residence may only be acquired as a result of a decision made by a person with capacity, or lawfully on his behalf by someone else. ... The context and purpose of s117 point in my judgment to an interpretation that is as straightforward as possible, the residence of a person being prima facie the place in which he was in fact living eating and sleeping immediately prior to his detention. There may be reasons to conclude that he has not lost an established residence elsewhere, for example because of imprisonment or because he is only temporarily away from that residence on holiday, but if he has no such other place, and in the absence of some other special factor, his actual place of abode is his residence. This would be so whether he is there voluntarily or involuntarily, and whether any lack of voluntariness is caused by his will being overborne (eg on imprisonment) or because a decision he has in fact made is vitiated by lack of capacity, or if the decision has in reality been taken on his behalf by someone else, with or without lawful authority to do so." Some of these comments are obiter, and this is a first instance decision which did not refer to the earlier Court of Appeal decision in R (Wiltshire Council) v Hertfordshire CC [2014] EWCA Civ 712, [2014] MHLO 103.

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