Richards v Worcestershire County Council [2017] EWCA Civ 1998, [2017] MHLO 38

Executive summary and conclusion from judgment: "The claimant has a long history of mental illness, following frontal lobe injury which he sustained in a road traffic accident 33 years ago. He received damages following the accident, which his deputy administers. The claimant was compulsorily detained in hospital under section 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983 in 2004. Following his discharge from hospital he has received various after-care services. The claimant's deputy funded the services between 2004 and 2013. The defendants have funded those services since 2013. The claimant by his deputy now seeks to recover the costs of the after-care services between 2004 and 2013 (including 18 months residential placement) on the grounds that the defendants are liable for the costs under section 117 of the 1983 Act. The defendants applied to strike out the claim as an abuse of process. The judge rejected that application. The defendants now appeal on two grounds: first, the claimant should have brought his claim by judicial review; secondly, the defendants' alleged non-compliance with section 117 of the 1983 Act does not entitle the claimant to recover damages for unjust enrichment or restitution. The first ground of appeal raises a clean point of law, capable of resolution on the basis of the pleadings. I decide that point against the defendants. The second ground of appeal (despite its formulation as a point of law) raises questions of fact which are hotly contested. This is not, therefore, suitable for resolution on an application to strike out. In the result, therefore, if my Lords agree, this appeal will be dismissed."

Related judgments

Richards v Worcestershire County Council [2017] EWCA Civ 1998, [2017] MHLO 38

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