Argyll & Bute Council v Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
6 November 2007
Argyll & Bute Council sought judicial review of a decision by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. This was the first time that a decision of the Ombudsman had been challenged in this way. The Ombudsman had considered a complaint made by a person whose elderly relative required care and who sought backpayments from the Council of sums he claimed were due in respect of free personal care. Lord Macphail took the view that the proper interpretation of the Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002 was that the local authority were not obliged to make payments for personal care that was not provided by them. He held that the Ombudsman's decision that the legislation placed a statutory duty on Argyll & Bute Council to provide funding for the care of the person concerned was incorrect. This is a decision that is likely to have significant political consequences.
David Johnston QC and Morag Ross, both of Axiom Advocates, appeared for Argyll & Bute Council. Paul Cullen QC, also of Axiom Advocates, appeared for the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.
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