Tinsley v Manchester City Council  EWCA Civ 1704
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Regina (Tinsley) v Manchester City Council (Local Government Association intervening)
2017 Oct 10; Nov 1Sir Terence Etherton MR, Longmore, Irwin LJJ
Local government— Community care services— Discharged mental patients— Duty to provide after-care services to persons ceasing to be compulsorily detained— Claimant suffering severe injuries in road traffic accident including organic personality disorder leading to compulsory detention in hospital— Claimant receiving damages for negligence from driver liable for accident including damages for future care— Whether authorities required to provide after-care services free of charge before damages for future care exhausted— Mental Health Act 1983 (c 20) (as amended by Mental Health (Patients in the Community) Act 1995 (c 52), s. 1(2), Sch. 1, para 15, Health and Social Care Act 2012 (c 7), s 40(2)(a) and Care Act 2014, s 75(5)), s 117
In 1998 the claimant suffered injuries in a road traffic accident which left him with an organic personality disorder resulting in his being compulsorily detained in hospital under section 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983 and requiring after-care services on discharge. A receiver was appointed by the Court of Protection. On his discharge from hospital the after-care services were initially provided by the local authority, but in 2005, in proceedings brought by the receiver, he was awarded damages of £3.5m against the driver of the other vehicle, of which £2,890,257 represented future care. At that point the claimant left the nursing home funded by the local authority and moved into accommodation paid for from the damages award. In 2009 a new property and affairs deputy (previously a receiver) was appointed by the Court of Protection after concerns that his previous deputy had mismanaged his finances. Taking the view that the claimant could not sustain the cost of his existing care arrangement the deputy sought funding from the defendant local social services authority for after-care services under section 117 of the 1983 Act, contending that it was the authority’s duty to provide such services under section 117. The local authority refused on the basis that no duty arose because the claimant could continue to pay for his own care from the damages award for future care. On the claimant’s claim, brought by his litigation friend and deputy, for judicial review of the local authority’s decision by way of an order that the authority provide after-care services, the judge heard as a preliminary issue the question whether it was lawful for the local authority to refuse to provide after-care services on that basis. The judge held that it was unlawful, quashed the local authority’s determination and made a declaration that the local authority could not have regard to the claimant's ability to fund the cost of after-care services from his personal injury damages when determining whether or not to provide after-care services under section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983.
On appeal by the local authority—
Held, appeal dismissed. Section 117 of the 1983 Act expressly imposed an obligation on local authorities to provide after-care services to persons compulsorily detained under section 3 of the Act for which it was not permitted to charge them. Where a mentally ill person was admitted to hospital but not compulsorily detained and on discharge required after-care services, an award of damages for personal injuries administered by the Court of Protection could not be taken into account by the local authority. Similarly, under section 117 of the 1983 Act a local authority could not charge a person who had been compulsorily detained for the provision of after-care services where an award of damages for future care administered by the Court of Protection had been made. In relation to the principles that the law should serve the public interest, and be just and fair, it was not immoral or low-principled to claim a benefit to which the claimant was entitled by statute. Although a claimant who intended to rely on a local authority’s provision of aftercare services could not recover the cost of providing after-care services from the tortfeasor to avoid double recovery, it did not follow that a claimant awarded damages for after-care services was precluded from making an application to the local authority for such services. A claimant could apply to the local authority at any time for the provision of after-care services under section 117 before he had exhausted sums for the costs of care awarded to him as damages for personal injuries (paras 11–19, 24–25, 26–33, 35,36, 37).
R v Manchester City Council, Ex p StennettB, HL(E) and Crofton v National Health Service Litigation Authority B, CA applied.
Peters v East Midlands Strategic Health Authority (Nottingham City Council, Part 20 defendant)B, CA distinguished.
Decision of Judge Stephen Davies, sitting as a judge of the Queen’s Bench DivisionM affirmed.
Hilton Harrop-Griffiths (instructed by City Solicitor, Manchester City Council, Manchester) for the local authority.
Jenni Richards QC and Adam Fullwood (instructed by Hugh Jones Solicitors, Manchester) for the claimant.
Stephen Knafler QC (instructed by Corporate Legal Adviser, Local Government Association) for the Local Government Association, intervening, by written submissions only.
Reported by: Susan Denny, Barrister