Claim to recover costs dismissed by the High Court


The High Court has issued its decision in Nottinghamshire County Council v The Estate of Belton and another [2017 EW Misc 26 (CC)]

The High Court has dismissed an appeal against a decision of the county court, which gave judgment to Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) in respect of its claim to recover the costs of providing residential care under Part 3 of the National Assistance Act 1948 (NAA 1948) for the appellant’s father WB. The NCC sought to recover those costs from WB’s estate following his death or alternatively, from the appellant to whom WB’s assets had been transferred.

The appellant argued that the applicable limitation period for the claim was three years as set out in section 69 of the Care Act 2014 (CA 2014), and that the effect of section 56(1) of the NAA 1948 was that only the magistrates’ court had jurisdiction to consider such claims.

The High Court dismissed the appeal on both grounds and held that:

  • Section 56 of the NAA 1948 is a permissive provision that enables recovery proceedings to be brought summarily. It does not require them to be brought summarily. Therefore, the county court had jurisdiction in the debt dispute as it does generally.
  • The case is important for local authorities as it is the first time the courts have considered the application of section 69 of the CA 2014 to the recovery of costs incurred for services that were provided under Part 3 of the NAA 1948 (residential care services) and section 17 of the Health and Social Services and Social Security Adjudications Act 1983 (non-residential care services), and the limitation period that applies in such cases (Nottinghamshire County Council v The Estate of Belton and another [2017] EW Misc 26 (CC) (19 October 2017).)

The case is important for local authorities as it is the first time the courts have considered the application of section 69 of the CA 2014 to the recovery of costs incurred for services that were provided under Part 3 of the NAA 1948 (residential care services) and section 17 of the Health and Social Services and Social Security Adjudications Act 1983 (non-residential care services), and the limitation period that applies in such cases (Nottinghamshire County Council v The Estate of Belton and another [2017] EW Misc 26 (CC) (19 October 2017).)