No entitlement to charge for after-care under section 117 Mental Health Act 1983, in any circumstances

On 10 November 2016 the High Court confirmed that eligibility for section 117 after-care cannot be affected by any form of means testing.

In 1998 Mr Tinsley was in a car crash. He suffered serious head injuries leading to a personality disorder and was later detained under section 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983. When he was discharged to a nursing home this was funded under section 117. Meanwhile, Mr Tinsley won £3.5 million in his claim against the driver. £2.89 million was earmarked for private post-hospital care. This was on the basis that a standard of care acceptable to Mr Tinsley could not be provided under the statutory regime.

Almost predictably, in 2010 Mr Tinsley’s (new) deputy sought funding of after-care under section 117. Manchester City Council refused on the basis that ample funding was available from damages awarded. The High Court, however, ruled it was wrong to consider means in relation to the funding of section 117 after-care, confirming that there is no entitlement to charge for such services.

Judge Davies acknowledged the frustration this ruling may cause. However, he noted that Parliament had very recently reviewed section 117 when drafting the Care Act 2014 so he concluded that it was beyond the Court’s jurisdiction to intervene.

The arrangements for funding section 117 after-care can often be difficult and contentious: if you have any concerns relating to section 117 eligibility or funding please contact a member of our team.

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