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Health and Social Care (including welfare benefits)

Community Care Law

Our health and social care team has a real breadth and depth of experience across all areas of community care, health and healthcare-related law (including mental health), the law governing mental capacity, and welfare benefits law.

The team is made up of range of barristers with expertise across all levels of seniority. Its particular strength lies in its ability to provide expertise in a range of relevant interlocking areas, including where health and social care cases intersect with civil liberties and human rights (including equality and discrimination issues); immigration law; prison law; education law; criminal law; competition law; and commissioning and public procurement. They have been involved in leading cases on a variety of issues across these areas.

Matrix’s barristers regularly advise and represent the full range of clients in this area, including individuals (legally aided or otherwise), local authorities, central government, regulatory bodies, health bodies, care providers, charities, and other non-government organisations (NGOs). Members of the team are on the Equality & Human Rights Panel of counsel and the Attorney General’s panels.

Specialist expertise

A particular area of expertise is where community care or health issues intersect with other legal issues, such as:

  • Immigration – for example, where asylum-seekers with health and social care needs are detained or seeking accommodation, where a person may lack capacity to give instructions relating to their immigration affairs, where a young person’s age is disputed by the local authority or the Home Office, or where a person subject to immigration control faces healthcare charges.
  • Trafficking – for example, in relation to the recovery and subsistence support needs of victims of trafficking and their dependent children.
  • Education – for example, where children or young people seek provision for special educational needs and related health and social care needs.
  • Welfare benefits – for example, where social security policies or decisions have disproportionate impacts arising from a person’s health or social care needs or disabilities.

Matrix’s team also brings unparalleled expertise where cases raise civil liberties and human rights issues, including on equality and discrimination law.

Members have also acted in a number of high-profile clinical negligence and product liability cases. Our criminal law team are able to advise on regulatory and criminal matters involving the pharmaceutical industry. Our commercial and EU teams have specialist expertise in pharmaceutical regulation and competition law cases arising in that sector.

Areas covered

Our team can assist with the following matters, but the list is by no means exhaustive. Barristers’ expertise enables them to advise and represent clients across the full range of health and social care-related matters.

Community care:

  • All aspects of domestic community care entitlements, including under the Care Act 2014 and the Children Act 1989.
  • Judicial review of systemic deficiencies in the framework for community care provision for particular groups.
  • Community care cases arising in the context of detention (in prisons or the IRC estate).
  • Cases involving support and accommodation provision for asylum-seekers and victims of trafficking in the community.

Health and healthcare (including mental health):

  • Public law challenges to the NHS healthcare provision on a national and/or local basis, and the provision of care to individuals.
  • Health and healthcare-related inquests and inquiries,
  • Healthcare-related issues affecting prisoners and immigration detainees.
  • Healthcare issues arising in the context of asylum or human rights claims.
  • NHS continuing care issues.
  • Charging, direct payments and independent user trusts.
  • Human rights claims (including judicial reviews) arising in the health/healthcare context.
  • Cases involving confidentiality, information rights and data protection in the health/healthcare context.
  • Cases concerning the right to life and the right to die.
  • Criminal law cases relating to healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Cases challenging the healthcare charges made to ‘overseas visitors’, and challenges to decisions on whether the provision of healthcare is ‘urgent’ or ‘immediately necessary’.

Welfare benefits and subsistence support for asylum seekers and victims of trafficking:

  • Public law challenges to the lawfulness of welfare benefits schemes, including on human rights and discrimination grounds.
  • Appeals at all levels under the social security system.
  • Public law challenges to the lawfulness of the subsistence support systems for asylum seekers and victims of trafficking.
  • Judicial reviews of Recovery Needs Assessment decisions for victims of trafficking

 Equality and discrimination:

  • Compliance with and claims under the Equality Act 2010, including disability discrimination.
  • Breaches of Article 14 ECHR, including in the context of welfare benefits, health and community care, and support for victims of trafficking.
  • Employment-related disputes concerning disability and other forms of discrimination.

Mental capacity:

  • Court of Protection proceedings.
  • Capacity issues arising in the context of other public law proceedings, including immigration, asylum and education cases.

Competition, regulatory and procurement:

  • Cases concerning the regulation of healthcare providers (including via the CQC and professional regulatory bodies).
  • Cases raising competition and procurement law issues related to the provisions of healthcare and pharmaceuticals.

For individuals seeking assistance, please see our information on the public access scheme, which explains the role of a barrister in your case.


 Cases

Matrix’s members have appeared in many of the leading cases in the area, such as:

  • (CP) v North East Lincolnshire Council [2019] EWCA Civ 1614; [2020] P.T.S.R. 664 (overlap between local authority duties under the Care Act 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014)
  • R (SH) v Norfolk CC [2020] EWHC 3426 (Admin) (council’s charging policy for social care discriminatory)
  • R (DMA & AA) v SSHD [2020] EWHC 3436 (Admin) (systemic deficiencies including discrimination in the asylum support scheme and discrimination)
  • R (Raja and another) v Redbridge LBC  [2020] EWHC 1456 (Admin); [2020] P.T.S.R. 2129 (local authority’s powers under Care Act to provide urgent overnight care pending a full reassessment of the claimants’ needs)
  • R Cornerstone) v. Ofsted [2020] EWHC 1679 (Admin); [2021] P.T.S.R. 14 (refusal of an Evangelical Christian foster care agency to recruit same sex carers breached the Equality Act 2010)

  • National Aids Trust v NHS Commissioning Board [2016] EWCA Civ 1100; [2017] 1 W.L.R. 1477 (NHS England had the power to commission HIV prevention drug PREP)
  • Dolan v SSHSC [2020] EWCA Civ 1605; [2021] 1 W.L.R. 2326  (extent of Government’s powers to impose public health restrictions during the pandemic)
  • BA v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2018] EWCA Civ 2696; [2019] 1 W.L.R. 2979  (lawfulness of rule on transplants for those not ordinarily resident in UK)

  • Mazhar v Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust [2020] EWCA Civ 1377; [2021] 1 W.L.R. 1207 (Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs and the inherent jurisdiction)
  • R (Bell and another) v Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and others [2020] EWHC 3274 (Admin); [2021] P.T.S.R. 593—(the capacity of children with gender dysphoria to consent to the prescription of puberty blockers)
  • Birmingham City Council v D  [2019] UKSC 42; [2019] 1 W.L.R. 5403 (incapacitated child aged 16 to 17 accommodated by local authority with parents’ consent amounting to objective confinement)
  • N v A Clinical Commissioning Group and others [2017] UKSC 22; [2017] A.C. 549 (limits on power of Court of Protection to hold best interests hearings in relation to parties’ preferred support package)

  • DA & DS v SSWP [2019] UKSC 21; [2019] 1 W.L.R. 3289 (revised benefit cap and discrimination)
  • TP & AR v SSWP [2020] EWCA Civ 37; [2020] P.T.S.R. 1785 (discrimination against severely disabled people under Universal Credit)
  • Gubeladze v SSWP [2019] UKSC 31; [2019] A.C. 885 (Incompatibility of the workers registration scheme for EU accession states with EU law)
  • R (SC & Ors) v SSWP [2019] EWCA Civ 615; [2019] 1 W.L.R. 5687 (lawfulness of two child limit for child tax credit under Arts 8 and 12 ECHR).
  • K and AM v SSHD [2018] EWHC 2951 (Admin); [2019] 4 WLR 92 (a challenge to the decision to cut trafficking support payments for asylum-seeking victims of trafficking, which resulted in an order for back payment to all victims whose support had been unlawfully terminated).