Health secretary Alan Milburn has won a legal test case over
procedures used by councils to force home owners to use their
property to fund residential care.
At the end of last month, the Court of Appeal overturned a High
Court ruling made in November 2001 that Dorset Council could not
use the home of Christopher Beeson to fund his residential care.
Beeson died in 2001 aged 95.
The High Court had ruled that the council had breached Article 6 of
the Human Rights Convention by appointing one independent person
and two council members to the panel charged with deciding the
case, and that it was therefore not a “fair and impartial tribunal”
(news, page 12, 6 December, 2001).
But Lord Justice Laws said that decisions by such panels met the
human rights standards because they were open to High Court
challenge, and that Beeson’s property should therefore have been
made available to the council.