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Douce v Staffordshire County Council, Court of Appeal, 19 April 2002

8 May 2002
The issues

Economic Loss – Registered Homes Act 1984 – Care Homes

The facts

Staffordshire County Council were deemed negligent by the Claimant for damages for economic loss. It was alleged that they were negligent in their construing the 1984 Act as requiring “staffing to capacity” of care homes. As a result, the Claimant’s alleged, there had been overpayment of wages which they sought to recover.

The County Council claimed its actions were matters of discretion which they should not be liable unless there actions were so unreasonable as to be outside that discretion. They applied for summary judgment. They were refused and appealed to the Court of Appeal.

The decision

These matters turned on questions of mixed fact and law. This is an area of developing juris prudence. A full Trial was required to ascertain whether the Council owed a duty to owners and managers of care homes for negligently caused economic loss.

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