The High Court has found that a mother is not liable for the residential care fees for her intellectually disabled and terminally ill son, because she had signed the admission agreement with the mistaken belief that she was signing an admission form that, at most, would make her liable for a few personal items needed by her son.
The Court criticised the provider's admission agreement, noting that "the agreement presented was entirely unsuitable in the case of a resident such as [her son]. Plainly he was not fit to sign on his own account. So that part was just left blank. [The mother], in what seems to have been a state of common confusion, signed on behalf of Radius.Then as attorney, when she was not… Then she signed as guarantor, when in my view it should have been made clear to her that she was really signing as principal obligee. Had that been done, the misunderstanding as to the extent of the guarantee would have been detected". Furthermore, the execution process was "an utter shambles". Among other things, the admission agreement was presented to the mother by a receptionist as she was leaving to catch a plane, the document was incomplete (she was only provided the signature page, and not the rest of the agreement), and it was presented in an informal manner with a number of other minor administrative documents two months after her son's admission. The Court found that in the unusual circumstances of this case, the mother has taken requisite care and dismissed Radius' claim for unpaid fees. Radius Residential Care Limited v Krishna  NZHC 2886