New laws for private care home residents in wake of Lords human rights ruling

Legislation extending human rights protection to residents of private care homes is expected to be introduced by the government shortly after a shock House of Lords ruling this week.

In a landmark judgement on Wednesday, the Lords ruled that residents placed in independent care homes by local authorities were not covered by the Human Rights Act 1998.

The ruling came in a test case on whether the eviction of a publicly funded resident from an independent care home would breach her human rights.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said that the government was “disappointed” by the ruling and was set to meet with stakeholders next week to discuss the situation.

Sonya Sceats, policy and research officer at The British Institute of Human Rights, said that she was “confident” the government would take action.

She said the form of this was as yet unclear but added that any legislation ministers did introduce was unlikely to extend the act to all contracted-out public services

“Its submissions to the House of Lords case went for a narrower approach,” she said.

However, Shelia Scott, chief executive of the National Care Association said the Lords had reached the correct decision as there was already enough legislation protecting private care home residents.

“There isn’t just the Care Standards Act there’s also the whole series of common laws and we feel that they offer enough protection,” she said.

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