Walford, Regina (on The Application of) v Worchestershire County Council: Admn 10 Feb 2014

The Claimant challenged the decision of the Respondent to uphold its reversal of a previous decision to disregard a property, Sunnydene, Astley Burf, Stourport-on-Severn owned by the Claimant’s elderly mother, in calculating her mother’s ability to pay care home charges.
Held: The decision was quashed and returned for reconsideration. While the Council had rightly believed that the claimant had to establish that it was her main home, it had wrongly believed that she could not do so unless she established that she was in ‘actual occupation’ of it and/or that it was her ‘permanent residence’: ”home’ is a place to which a person has a degree of attachment both physical and emotional. It is also agreed that physical presence is neither necessary nor sufficient. What is important is the degree of occupation and the nature of the occupation. Ultimately whether a person occupies premises as their home is determined by a test which is both qualitative and quantitative.’ A person could in principle ‘occupy’ a property as his or her home even if they did not live there all the time, or even the majority of the time.
The Council had erred in also considering only the situation at the tiem when the patient had gone into long term care: ‘ there is no basis for limiting the power of review to the circumstances prevailing at the time of the original assessment. I accept the submissions made on behalf of the Secretary of State and the Claimant that a decision whether or not to disregard property can be reviewed whenever there is a change in circumstances. The opening words of section 7.003 of [the Guidance] require the focus of the inquiry to be on the present, not the past, position.’

Supperstone J
[2014] EWHC 234 (Admin), [2014] WLR(D) 65, [2014] PTSR 968
Bailii, WLRD
National Assistance Act 1948 22, National Assistance (Assessment of Resources) Regulations 1992
England and Wales
Cited by:
Appeal fromWalford v Worcestershire County Council CA 27-Jan-2015
The claimant had, on her mother going into long term care, sought to avoid an order for the sale of the mother’s house saying that it was also the claimant’s home. The Council now appealed against a finding that it had to take into account . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Local Government, Health

Updated: 29 November 2021; Ref: scu.521115