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Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Batty (Court of Appeal, 13 December 2005)

DATE: 13 Dec 2005

The Court of Appeal has given guidance on what amounts to frequent attention in connection with the bodily function of drinking for the purpose of entitlement to attendance allowance under s.64 of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992. The claimant could make hot drinks but could not carry them. The Court of Appeal allowed the Secretary of State for Work and Pension's appeal and held that the social security commissioner had erred in holding that B’s requirement for help carrying hot drinks, as opposed to drinking them, was capable of constituting attention in connection with her bodily functions. The word “attention” required more than a personal service but meant service of a close and intimate nature. The words “bodily functions” had a narrower meaning than, for example, “bodily needs” and referred to the normal physiological functions that a fit person performed for himself. The Court of Appeal was not persuaded that the commissioner had found or had been entitled to find any more than that the claimant's disability meant that she could not carry drinks. The assistance required was just transportation of drinks and had none of the characteristics of attention of a close and personal character. In those circumstances the decision could not stand and the matter was remitted back for a re-hearing. Daniel Kolinsky represented the claimant, Mrs Batty, in the Court of Appeal.