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FAITH AND FINANCE FUEL ROW OVER AUTISTIC MAN'S CARE

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An orthodox Jewish family have gone to the High Court in a bid to stop their autistic son being exiled to Mancheste...
An orthodox Jewish family have gone to the High Court in a bid to stop their autistic son being exiled to Manchester - where they say it will be 'impossible' to visit him because of the sabbath.

Lawyers for the man, who is in his 20s, said Hackney Borough Council's refusal to place him in a specialist Jewish care home in the Home Counties was dictated by the£146,000 annual cost of doing so.

Instead, the council opted for another home in Manchester - which costs£88,000 per year but makes no specialist provision for those of orthodox Jewish faith.

His family also said their observance of the Jewish sabbath - which begins on Friday night and extends through the whole of Saturday - will make it impossible for them to visit him in Manchester, hundreds of miles from their home in London.

Today Mr Justice McCombe told London's High Court: 'This is a case of considerable importance that needs to be heard.'

The family's judicial review challenge to Hackney's stance is now likely to be heard as a matter of urgency during the legal vacation in August.

But in a blow to the family, the judge refused to order Hackney to pay a retainer to the Home Counties care home to ensure a place there is kept open for him pending the outcome of the court case.

The family's barrister, Andrew Allen, told the judge: 'The London Borough of Hackney's opposition to (the Home Counties care home) appears to be based on the consideration of costs.'

He said a letter from the council's legal department said the Home Counties care home was 'grossly expensive' and the council would not re-consider its position.

The barrister argued a move to the north of England would be 'disastrous' for the family and added: 'If he is moved to Manchester the family's current contact would be impossible.'

STRAND NEWS SERVICE

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