Case No: CO/2073/2022
In the High Court of Justice
King’s Bench Division
21 September 2022
Antony Dunne sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
Notification of the Judge’s decision on the application for permission to apply for judicial review (CPR 54.11, 54.12)
Following consideration of the documents lodged by the Claimant the Acknowledgement of Service filed by the Defendant and the Claimant’s reply
ORDER by Antony Dunne sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge
- The application for permission to apply for judicial review is refused on all grounds.
- The Claimant shall be referred to in these proceedings as RW, and pursuant to CPR 39.2 there shall be no publication of the name or address of the Claimant or any particulars of the case likely to lead to the identification of the Claimant without the leave of the court. Any person has liberty on three days’ written notice to the parties to apply to vary or discharge this order.
- No order for costs.
- The Claimant’s judicial review claim is brought on four grounds:
(a) The Defendant unlawfully refused to allow the costs of the Step Together Activities as Disability Related Expenses (DRE) (“Ground 1”);
(b) The Defendant unlawfully refused to allow the costs of the Claimant’s travel expenses as DRE (“Ground 2”);
(c) The Defendant’s Charging Policy is unlawful as it places undue emphasis on whether expenditure is a matter of personal choice (“Ground 3”);
(d) The Defendant unlawfully removed the Claimant’s DRE for travel without consultation or review of his needs (“Ground 4”)
Permission is refused on each of the grounds for the following reasons:
- Ground 1 – The Claimant asserts that the Defendant’s refusal is based on the mistaken premise that the costs of attending the Step Together Activities are included in the daily charge. In his Reply to the Defendants response the Claimant asserts:
“the Claimant must pay for the activities he undertakes at the ST Group in order to be able to attend at all. The Defendant has not provided any evidence that contradicts this. Its approach continues to be based on a fundamental factual misunderstanding. 4. This is not simply the cost of occasional evening meals out or bowling; it is the cost of the daily activities which are specifically designed for individuals with needs like the Claimant’s in order to help him access the community.”
However, in an email dated 28th June 2022 (Defendant’s bundle B14) the Defendant asks Step Together:
“Could you advise me what support RW is receiving from your organisation? 1. Support at home- What tasks are you undertaking with him. Times /days and cost per week? 2. Activities in the community – are these included in the daily rate? What is the daily rate? Are there activities that RW has to pay for and if so what are these activities?”
In response to this request on 29th June 2022, which includes a request for the detail of activities in the community, Step Together provides a breakdown of the costs of the weekly programme with the Claimant and this is the figure which is relied upon by the Defendant in its response. The Defendant’s response is not based upon a misunderstanding of the position, it is based upon evidence from Step Together. Permission is therefore refused on Ground 1.
- Ground 2 – The claim that the Defendant has acted unlawfully in not allowing travel costs as DRE is not arguable. The Charging Regulations and the Defendant’s own policy do not require the Defendant to allow these expenses and the Defendant’s reasons for refusal are rational.
- Ground 3 – The Claimant asserts that it is an irrelevant consideration for the Defendant to take into account “personal choice” when deciding whether an expense is reasonable incurred. However, consideration of “personal choice” to undertake particular activities when there are cheaper available and similar opportunities is clearly a relevant consideration for the Defendant when considering whether an expense is reasonable. This ground is not arguable.
- Ground 4 – The Claimant’s asserts that the Defendant must consult the Claimant before reaching a conclusion that he is not entitled to a £25 travel training allowance. This ground is not arguable. The purpose of the allowance was to assist the Claimant to get used to new travel routes and the Defendant was entitled to reach the conclusion that this allowance was no longer required.