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Department for Health and Social Care will continue stay on ordinary residence disputes pending final decision from Supreme Court

Ordinary residence disputes raising similar issues to those in the Worcestershire case will continue to be stayed until a final decision by the Supreme Court, the Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed.

In an update to statutory guidance the DHSC said it understood that Worcestershire County Council had lodged an application for leave to appeal in the Supreme Court.

In Worcestershire County Council, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2021] EWCA Civ 1957 the Department last month won its appeal in a much-anticipated Court of Appeal ruling on which of two local authorities should pay for after-care services pursuant to s.117(3) of the Mental Health Act 1983 where the user has been detained, released and then, sometime later, detained again under the Act.

In the High Court Mr Justice Linden had concluded that the answer in the particular case was Swindon Borough Council because that was where the user (JG) was living at the time of her second detention.

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The DHSC maintained that it should have been Worcestershire County Council to pay, because it had originally placed JG in a care home in Swindon.

Allowing the appeal, Lord Justice Coulson said: “S.117 is clear. The duty subsists until it comes to an end by the communication of a decision by Worcestershire pursuant to s.117(2). There has been no such decision. The duty therefore continued throughout both the second period of detention and beyond.”

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