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Lawyer takes fight for recognition of Human Rights Act for Residents of Private Care Homes to the House of Lords

Human rights lawyer defending 83 year old Alzheimer's patient


In a case which could have wide ranging consequences for the most vulnerable people in society, the House of Lords will be asked to decide whether the Human Rights Act should be applied in the case of an 83 year old Alzheimer's patient threatened with eviction from her private care home.

The patient, known only as YL, has lived at the care home since the 3rd of January 2006 when she was placed there by her local authority who have continued to pay the costs of her care.

The care home has been seeking to remove YL because of an alleged irreconcilable breakdown in the relationship between YL's family and the care home management. The care home however accepts that it is able to appropriately meet YL's needs and that their relationship with YL personally has not broken down.

The Human Rights Act covers public authorities and those performing public functions. The House of Lords will consider the argument that the Human Rights Act should apply to residents in the homes of private sector care providers where they have been placed in them, and funded by, local authorities under their statutory duties over 3 days from 30th April 2007.

Southern Cross Health Care Ltd the owners of the home in which YL is cared for, and other private owners of care homes, is arguing that they are not undertaking a public function.

Yogi Amin, human rights lawyer of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors who is taking the case to the House of Lords on behalf of YL said "There are over 300,000 care home residents potentially affected (1) with over 91% of care homes in England and Wales owned and run by the private and voluntary sector (2)."

"Just because a care home is privately run it should not ignore the fact that the resident has been placed there and paid for by a public authority. Care homes are undertaking a public function in providing accommodation and caring for some of the most vulnerable people in society. They need to accept the responsibility that gs with it. That responsibility is simply to act reasonably and proportionately."

"It is difficult to understand why care home owners are concerned about accepting that their residents should be afforded the protection of the Human Rights Act in circumstances where decisions are being made which affect their care and residence."

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