BOOK REVIEW Community Care Law and Local Authority Handbook (2nd edition)

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Reviewed by: David Pickup
Author: Jonathan Butler
Publisher: Jordan Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 978-1-84661-293-0
Price: £75.00

What is community care law? It is an area that has grown up comparatively recently and not easy to define. It is the law of obligations owed by the state - often local authorities - to vulnerable people and includes persons who are in ill-health, or disabled.

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The purpose of this book is to collect the disparate and inconsistent legislation on community care and explain the local authority’s role and duties in each case. The topics covered include mental health, mental incapacity, general health matters and asylum.

It is not an easy task and the coverage is comprehensive. The text is fine and understandable. A small point of concern is the book relies heavily on text from circulars and other documents and it is not always clear which is which. The book is written from the point of view of local authorities, though it will be of benefit to general lawyers. As a mental health lawyer I noticed the thorny issue of when section 117 can be withdrawn could have been dealt with in more detail.

The practitioner will, I think, be interested not only in the obligations but the mechanisms to ensure the authority can and does assess the person in need and interested in the process of challenging disputed cases, whether through the courts or complaints. Those are minor points and this book will be useful to many in this field.

David Pickup is a partner in Aylesbury-based Pickup & Scott

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