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YL v Birmingham City Council

[2007] UKHL 27

Case summary last updated at 07/01/2020 15:42 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case YL v Birmingham City Council

 C (84) suffered from Alzheimer’s. D council had a statutory duty to make arrangements providing her with residential accommodation & it chose to fulfil that duty (as it was allowed) by contracting with 2nd D company to place her in one of its care homes, which accommodated both privately funded residents & those whose fees were paid by D in full or part. C’s fees were paid by the council, save for a small top-up fee paid by her relatives. 2nd D company sought to terminate the contract for her care & remove her from the home. C argued that the company fell within s.6(2)(b) HRA & its actions were in breach of 2, 3, 8 of ECHR. Majority of HL rejected this claim à distinguished between the function of LA in making its statutory arrangements for those who couldn’t make arrangements for themselves & that of a private company in providing such care under contract on a commercial basis rather than by subsidy from public funds. Held that the actual provision of care & accommodation by the private company (as opposed to its regulation & supervision pursuant to statutory rules) was not inherently a public function \ fell outside of 6(3)(b). Thus while C had retained public law rights against the LA that arranged the accommodation, she didn’t have Convention rights against the care home. But powerful dissent by Lord Bingham & Baroness Hale. The statutory legislation allowed the LA to discharge its duty by arranging care itself or doing so via a secondary organisation: ‘alternative means by which the responsibility of the state may be discharged.’Rejected the distinction made by the majority between arranging for & providing accommodation à intent of P was that care should be provided à important that the duty WAS performed, not HOW it was performed. Bingham: ‘when the 1998 Act was passed, it was very well known that a number of functions formerly carried out by private bodies. S.6(3)(b was clearly drafted with this well-known fact in mind.’ He also says that those in care are the most vulnerable and therefore have a greater need for protection. Clearly the provision of care is a public function. Lord Neberger said that Lord Neuberger: core public authorities are bound by s.6 in relation to ‘every one of its acts whatever the nature of the act concerned.’ 

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