Update: government position on the determination of ordinary residence disputes in light of the Supreme Court's ruling

Earlier this month the Department of Health and Social Care set out its position on the determination of ordinary residence disputes after the Supreme Court's decision in Worcestershire.

The Supreme Court ruling has provided the much-needed clarification on who funds ‘after-care services’ under section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983. The issue of who is responsible for funding these (often-expensive care packages) is a very real issue for local authorities and NHS Integrated Care Boards.

The case concerned a dispute about which local authority, Swindon or Worcestershire, was under a duty to arrange section 117 after-care for service user JG, who was detained under the MHA 1983 on two separate occasions.

In our earlier blog, we explore the Supreme Court’s decision in R (Worcestershire County Council) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2023] UKSC 31 and its implications. 

In its position statement dated 5 October 2023, the DHSC said:

"In light of the judgment, ordinary residence disputes that raise similar issues to those in the Worcestershire case, and that had previously been stayed, will now be progressed. As we have several stayed cases to work through, we ask for your patience as we make determinations on these in a reasonable time considering all the relevant circumstances. We will be working through previously stayed cases in the order in which they were stayed.

If in light of the judgment in the Worcestershire case, you feel that a determination on a stayed case is no longer needed, contact [email protected] as soon as possible.

We will continue to accept new referrals in line with the Care and Support (Disputes between Local Authorities) Regulations 2014/2829 while we work through previously stayed cases."


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