John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Monday, February 07, 2011
  Three Cheers for Baker J
The link is to the judgment for a Court of Protection Case where costs were awarded against the local authority.

It is nice to know of judges who don't mind taking against the local authority.

However, the processes here are too complex for what are relatively straightforward issues which should be litigated by exception rather than of a matter of course.
 
Comments:
I have followed this case for some time now and yes John three Cheers for Baker J

A few points of the argument which the Local Authoirity hoped would swing it for them leave nothing to the imagination

"(1) The MCA is designed to provide procedures whereby the welfare of vulnerable adults can be promoted and safeguarded. There is a danger that an order for costs in this case will deter local authorities from taking steps to achieve this end."

If Manchester City Council take this stance they will find themselves in more hot water as its their statute duty to provide safeguarding measures in what ever form they may be. Its the law chaps get used to using it correctly some times.


I have heard the use of the above already in a matter I am dealing with myself and I am pleased with Barker J's point of judgement

"The work carried out by the local authorities and other public bodies such as NHS Trusts in this important field cannot be underestimated. Thousands of dedicated professionals and support staff devote their lives to helping people with learning disability, for long hours and low salaries. All public bodies face very difficult times as they struggle to come to terms with the implications of the cuts in public expenditure recently announced. The Court of Protection must work with these professionals under the collaborative philosophy underpinning the MCA and its Code of Practice to which I alluded in the earlier judgment concerning deputyship in these proceedings.
That does not mean, however, that local authorities, or any other public bodies, can be excluded from liability to pay costs in appropriate cases. The rules about costs must be applied fairly to all litigants, regardless of who they are. In this case, all the costs of litigation will be borne by the public purse. The Legal Services Commission is an equally hard-pressed public agency and the Commission – and the taxpayers who fund it – are entitled to look to the Court to apply the costs rules impartially and ensure that there is a level playing field. Gone are the days when it is appropriate for a court to dismiss applications for costs on the basis that it all comes out of the same pot. Such an approach would undermine confidence in the courts and distort public administration and accountability. I deprecate the practice of relying on arguments that the impact of a costs order would reduce the local authority's social care budget. The Legal Services Commission could equally well argue that the denial of a costs order in this case in favour of G, F and E will reduce the funds available for other cases. If a costs order is made, that will be the fault of Manchester City Council, not the Court."Local authorities and others who carry out their work professionally have no reason to fear that a costs order will be made. The submission that local authorities will be discouraged from making applications to the Court of Protection if a costs order is made in this case is a thoroughly bad argument.

We should be seeing more of these types of Judgements made public, A Local Authority being a Public Body should be scrutinised by the Public and in My view should be named in all judgments, there is the underlying public interest in these matters
 
Slightly off Topic Manchester City Council have today announced cuts of £24.5 mil to their children's and adults services, aint looking good at all for those who need the help.
 
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