The Significance of R(BG and Anor) v Suffolk CC (2021): Meeting ‘Eligible Need[s]’ in Social Care?

Alice Diver, Belinda Schwehr

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The reasoning in Suffolk offers a partial redefinition of the notions of wellbeing and individual need, via its detailed analysis of the legislative frameworks associated with the making - and interpretation - of needs assessments. The decision underscores the subjective nature of many such decisions which involve a conceptualisation of eligible needs, particularly where these are made against a backdrop of austerity-led funding cuts, and rapid changes to social care law and policy. In terms of promoting a juridical right to be adequately supported and/or cared for, the decision may yet prove to be very useful: it spotlights the impacts of resource-rationing and questions how a right to human dignity might best realised when finite, scarce resources are being further whittled-away. The right to respect for one’s home, family, and private life under Article 8 (ECHR) is not overlooked here. Though not explicitly highlighted within the judgment, there are clear reminders of the state’s duty to actively promote and protect family life, given the importance of our ‘domestic, family and personal relationships.’ The links between personal wellbeing and strong family ties are examined in several places as is human dignity via the right to individual autonomy. The decision - pending appeal - should be of interest to anyone working to promote the rights of familial carers and the cared-for or advocating the right to be afforded adequate levels of social care and state support.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLiverpool Law Review
Early online date02 Jul 2022
Publication statusEarly online date - 02 Jul 2022




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