Cowl and others v Plymouth City Council: Admn 14 Sep 2001

The applicants were residents of a nursing home run by the respondents, and sought judicial review of the decision to close it. Before making the decision, the council consulted the residents and concluded that none had been offered a ‘home for life’. Though some understood this, the council argued that no promise had been given, or legitimate expectation had been created.
Held: Such an expectation requires a firm clear and sound foundation. None had been shown. Nor could it be shown that any of the residents had relied upon any representation. The council had to inform the residents well in advance, allow a reasonable time for objections and consider any resident’s objection. It must also follow the statutory uidance. The court rejected the suggestion that the residents had come to constitute a family, and that closure would interfere with the rights of that family under Articles 2,3 or 8.


Scott Baker J


[2001] EWHC Admin 734




Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 7(1), European Convention on Human Rights


CitedRegina v Jockey Club ex parte R A M Racecourses Ltd 1993
For there to be a breach of procedural fairness giving rise to a legitimate expectation, there must be shown ‘a clear and unambiguus representation.’ . .
ApprovedRegina v Devon County Council Ex Parte Baker, Regina v Durham County Council Ex Parte Broxson CA 22-Feb-1993
A Local Authority considering closing a residential home did not have a duty to notify and consult with each resident who might be affected, but did have a duty to act fairly, and to give sufficiently prominent notice and sufficient time to allow . .
CitedRegina v North and East Devon Health Authority ex parte Coughlan Admn 11-Dec-1998
There had been no transfer to Social Service Authorities of the Health Services’ statutory duty to provide specialist nursing and related care to the elderly, and having made a promise to provide a home for life, the Health Authority would be held . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromCowl and Others v Plymouth City Council CA 14-Dec-2001
It remains of overriding importance for parties to seek to avoid litigation wherever possible. In this case, a dispute between a local authority and some of the inhabitants of one of its residential homes. The courts now have ample power within the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Local Government, Human Rights

Updated: 04 June 2022; Ref: scu.166590