Judge rules in residential home closure dispute

In the case of R (C, M, P and HM) v Brent, Kensington and
Chelsea and Westminster Mental Health NHS Trust the judge warned
both parties in a dispute over a residential home closure that
legal action was not the best resolution.

This was another case in which residents of a residential home
sought to assert that they had been promised a “home for life” when
they moved into the home, and therefore there had to be an
overriding public interest before they could be moved.

Alternatively, it was argued that there was a duty to consult
the residents before the closure occurred.

The court rejected the arguments for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it emphasised the need for convincing evidence that there
had been a promise of a home for life and found such evidence
lacking. Secondly, it found that the home proposed to be closed was
in fact only a temporary placement for the residents, which gave
them no right to be consulted before the decision was taken.

The judge accepted that article 8 of the European Convention on
Human Rights was engaged (right to respect for home and private
life) where people were moved from residential placements, but that
any interference with the right was justified as the intention was
to provide the best medical care to the residents.

Lastly, and importantly for practitioners, this was another case
(see Cowl –
click here
to read a report), where the judge was of the
opinion that legal proceedings were not the appropriate way to
resolve disputes between the claimant and the trust, and that the
case had been pursued with “a degree of fervour which has been
misplaced”, and that the adversarial process had led to the
exacerbation of differences between the cared for and the

Stephen Cragg

Doughty Street Chambers

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