Are judicial approaches to adult social care at a dead-end?

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This article examines the limits of law to resolve or transform the contemporary dilemmas provoked by the provision of social care to adults in the UK. It juxtaposes the judgments in two cases, each of which interrogates the legal consequences of the mixed economy of care: the majority and minority opinions of the House of Lords in YL v Birmingham City Council (2007) and the Care Standards Tribunal decision in Alternative Futures v National Care Standards Commission (2002). We read the opinions/decisions as narratives that tell a variety of stories reconciling the different roles of law, the state, the family and the individual in the provision of care. Drawing upon David Scott’s concern with ‘the conceptual problem of political presents and with how reconstructed pasts and anticipated futures are thought out in relation to them’ (2004: 1), we seek to examine legal responses to the contractions and mutations of social welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-92
Number of pages20
JournalSocial & Legal Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

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