Joshua Swirsky defends successful local authority in Court of Appeal on interplay between Housing Act 1996 and Care Act 2014

17 May 2024

Joshua Swirsky defended the successful local authority in this Court of Appeal case focused on how a local authority’s obligations under the Care Act 2014 interact with its obligations under Parts VI and VII of the Housing Act 1996.

In particular, the Court of Appeal considered how s.23 of the Care Act should be properly interpreted.

Judgment in the case, R(Campbell) v London Borough of Ealing, was handed down today. It provides further clarity for local authorities on the interaction between the Care Act 2014 and the Housing Act 1996, especially their duties as regards accommodation to people with assessed eligible needs.

Issue before the court

The main issue before the court was:

  • Does s.23 Care Act 2014 prevent a local authority from providing general accommodation to someone who has assessed needs, when a local authority has obligations under the Housing Act 1996 that could apply to that person?
Background to the appeal

The claimant, Mr Campbell had been diagnosed with a condition which causes him to be partially sighted. He also suffered with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder and has complex care needs.

The local authority had funded Mr Campbell’s ‘temporary accommodation’ from 2016 on the understanding that he would bid for properties via the council’s housing allocation system. He had told the local authority he was dissatisfied with that temporary accommodation.

There was no dispute that Mr Campbell had eligible care and support needs when the local authority conducted assessments. Though he was never assessed as having a care and support need for ‘accommodation plus’.

Also, his family and partner were meeting those needs so he declined local authority-managed care or direct payments, and refused to cooperate with a financial assessment.

In February 2022, the local authority gave Mr Campbell 8 weeks’ notice to withdraw its funding of his accommodation.

Mr Campbell applied for judicial review of the local authority’s decision.

Judicial review proceedings

During the judicial review proceedings, Mr Campbell claimed he had a need for care and support under the Care Act, which required him to be provided with ordinary, as opposed to any form of specialised accommodation for effective delivery of that care and support.

The local authority argued Mr Campbell was not entitled to accommodation being provided under the Care Act 2014 because he is eligible for housing under either Part VI or Part VII of the Housing Act 1996.

The High Court dismissed his application in January 2023.

Mr Campbell then applied for permission to appeal which was granted.

Court of Appeal judgment

The Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed Mr Campbell’s appeal.

The court held that:

  • Section 23 of the Care Act 2014 on its natural meaning lays down that, where a local authority is required to offer housing accommodation to someone in accordance with its allocation scheme under Part VI of the Housing Act 1996, it cannot be required to provide ordinary accommodation under the 2014 Act.
  • Where a local authority is required by Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 to make provision for an applicant who is homeless and is not excluded from eligibility then similarly the same duty does not arise under the Care Act 2014.

Read the judgment in R(Campbell) v London Borough of Ealing [2024] EWCA Civ 540