Council loses test case over nursing home fees

A man will not be forced to sell his house to pay for his
father’s nursing care, the high court has ruled.

Mike Beeson’s father Christopher launched a test case earlier
this year to ensure his son would not have to sell his home to pay
Dorset council for nursing home fees. He died shortly after the
case was heard in September.

Christopher gave the house in Weymouth, Dorset, to Mike when his
son’s marriage ended in 1997, leaving him potentially
homeless, and continued living at the property for a further two

Beeson suffered a fall in August 1999 and realised he could no
longer live independently. A month later he applied to Dorset
council for funding, but was rejected on the grounds that by giving
his son the house, he had “deprived himself of an asset with which
he could have funded his residential care placement”.

He twice mounted unsuccessful challenges to the decision under
the council’s internal complaints procedure, and his appeal
was finally turned down by the director of social services and an
independent panel.

Beeson was subsequently told he would have to pay for his own
care, including arrears of £6,000.

The case went to court and in September this year, Richard
Drabble QC said that when Beeson gave his house to his son, it had
never occurred to him that he may need council funding for
residential care.

Mr Justice Richards upheld Beeson’s challenge to the
council’s ruling.

Richards said the council’s decision to charge Beeson was
based on a “total misunderstanding” of the legal test the council
should have applied.

He ruled the council’s complaints procedures fell foul of
the European Convention on Human Rights as Beeson had not been
given a hearing by an “independent and impartial tribunal”.

Dorset council has been ordered to pay legal costs.






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