In the recent case of R (on the application of Dempsey) V Sutton London Borough Council, the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court’s decision on costs and granted the claimant her costs.
The case involved a patient who was found to be no longer eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare. The local authority was invited to assess and provide for her needs. The local authority carried out an assessment and made an offer of accommodation; however, the claimant argued that the proposed placement would not meet her needs. Her solicitor requested a copy of the assessment and care plan. This was not provided therefore the claimant issued judicial review proceedings to challenge the failure to provide suitable accommodation and also injunctive relief to compel the local authority to fund her current placement while an alternative was found.
The injunction was granted, however, before the application was heard the local authority made an alternative offer of accommodation to the claimant, which she accepted. The judicial review proceedings were discontinued by consent. However, the judge made an order of no costs on the basis that the issue as to whether the original accommodation was suitable was never tried and it could not be said that the claimant would have succeeded.
On appeal the Court of Appeal determined that it was reasonable for the claimant to issue proceedings given the situation she found herself in. She had been granted interim relief, achieved her aim and every order of the court had been in her favour therefore she was entitled to claim her costs from the local authority.