A waste of Judicial time?

In R (AK) v London Borough of Hillingdon and North Central London CGG [2021] EWHC 301 (Admin), the Judge, in a 27 page judgment, held that a s.117 aftercare plan was unlawful and that a new assessment had to be conducted. This was despite the fact that no complaint was made as to the adequacy of the placement that the applicant had been discharged to as a consequence of the plan. Although the judge was reminded by counsel for the defendants that “care plans are drafted by social workers and not lawyers” he subjected the discharge plan to a detailed forensic analysis.

The case took up two days of court time. Is this a sensible use of scarce judicial resources? Would it not have been preferable for the applicant to have used the appropriate complaints mechanism and, if necessary, to involve the Ombudsman? And given that the placement has already taken place and is apparently successful, what would be the point of a further pre-discharge assessment?

Sometimes I have the same feeling about Court of Protection cases. In A NHS Foundation Trust v G [2021] EWCOP 69, after a six-day hearing with four barristers including three QCs, these paragraphs of the judgment of Hayden J stand out:

  1. It is the singularly most alarming feature of this case that although G was admitted to the Trust’s Hospital when she was 13, for which she was fortunate, she remains there today, now approaching her 27th birthday.

  1. As the CCG are unprepared to pay the cost of a move home at the moment, there are logically only 2 options i.e., A Home or continuing to stay at the hospital. I am very clear that the hospital for this young woman is an entirely unsuitable place for her to live. …