Judge backs council in dispute with elderly disabled woman

In Khana v London Borough of Southwark the court of appeal dealt
with a situation where a 91-year-old disabled woman wanted to be
provided with “normal” accommodation with her husband and family.
The local authority had assessed her as being in need of
residential accommodation which it was prepared to provide to the
husband as well.

The court emphasised that although the local authority had to
take into account user’s and carer’s choices and preferences,
ultimately it was up to the local authority to decide how to meet
the assessed need, and the local authority had decided that
“normal” accommodation would not do this.

If Khana did not accept the accommodation lawfully offered by
the local authority, then the local authority’s duty to provide
accommodation would be discharged.

The court of appeal considered the situation, which did not
arise in this case, as to what would happen if there were two ways
of meeting an assessed need which could not be separated in terms
of cost: one preferred by the local authority and one preferred by
the user. The court felt, after considering the case on June 28,
that in these circumstances the user’s preference would probably

Comment: The case is another example of the court feeling unable
to interfere in a local authority’s assessment of need simply
because a user does not agree with it, and shows again that the
concepts of choice and preference carry little weight so long as
the local authority can say that it has taken them into

Steve Cragg

Doughty Street Chambers

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