Our community care law barristers are ranked in Band 2 in the Chambers & Partners Bar Guide.
We advise extensively across the whole spectrum of community care using EU, human rights, equality and common law on cases relating to needs assessment and service provisioning, closure of residential care homes and hospitals, charging issues, local authority funding, disputes between social services authorities and formulation and operation of local authority policy.
Team members have appeared at all court levels including the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. The strength of the team lies in individuals’ expertise across related areas of law such as public law, immigration, housing, civil liberties and human rights, equality and anti-discrimination, Court of Protection and education. Garden Court is ranked by Chambers & Partners in Band 1 for immigration and social housing.
Our cross-disciplinary expertise distinguishes the team from other chambers and is evident in the significant litigation undertaken by the team. Members of the team regularly advise leading community care and social welfare organisations and engage in government lobbying to improve community care.
Members of the team are on the preferred panel of counsel for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in recognition of their expertise on the equality and human rights aspects of community care.
The Garden Court Community Care team regularly publish and distribute case law notes through a Social Welfare bulletin distributed monthly to practitioners specialising in community care law.
Members of the team also edit and produce the Community Care Law Reports published by the Legal Action Group.
The following illustrate some key examples of our work:
- R (DA and Ors) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  Acted for the intervener, Shelter, in a successful High Court challenge to the revised benefits cap which drastically reduced housing benefit and left lone parent families across the country struggling to afford basic necessities. The High Court agreed that the revised benefits cap was discriminatory to lone parents with children under two and toddlers under two, contrary to Article 8 and Article 14 ECHR. This case was reported in the Guardian.
- R (AS) v Kent County Council  Acted for the claimant in an important test case challenging the reliability of dental age assessments in which the claimant was found to be significantly younger than the defendant argued. The Upper Tribunal issued new guidance of wider importance on age assessments, finding that dental age assessments are not reliable and that booklets of photographs are of no evidential use.
- R (MA by his litigation friend JT) v London Borough of Lambeth and London Borough of Croydon  Acted for a homeless 12-year-old boy and his mother, a care assistant working on a zero-hour contract with no recourse to public funds due to her immigration status. Two local authorities retained a legal obligation to assess MA under s17 of the Children Act 1989 but each placed responsibility with the other. The claim was settled following a successful contested interim relief hearing, resulting in an order that the client should be provided with accommodation and support with both authorities sharing the cost.
- R (AT and KT) v London Borough of Haringey  – Acted on behalf of a severely disabled child with autism, Tourette’s Syndrome, ADHD and OCD, challenging the lawfulness of Haringey’s Disabled Children’s Policies. Haringey refused repeated requests for assistance and services despite urgent safeguarding referrals made by the police and serious risk of harm to the child’s mother. It was argued that the policies operated in a manner that directly discriminated against severely disabled children in breach of duties under the Equality Act 2010, Children Act 1989 and Articles 8 and 14 ECHR. Haringey not only agreed to provide the child and mother with a care package but also agreed to withdraw and review its Disabled Children’s Policies.
- R (RG) v London Borough of Hackney and East London NHS Foundation Trust – A successful challenge to the decision to withdraw support from the claimant through judicial review. Interim relief was also secured. In a departure from previous cases, the defendant accepted that ordinary accommodation – including the housing of family members without recourse to public funds due to their immigration status – rather than specialist accommodation could be considered aftercare under section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983.
If you would like more information about our Community Care team email the clerks
or call us on 020 7993 7600.