HHJ Luba QC upholds out of London discharge of duty

01 Jan 2018

Housing, Public Law and Judicial Review

In an important decision for local authorities, on 6 October 2017 HHJ Luba QC upheld the London Borough of Brent’s decision to discharge the main housing duty it owed to a disabled homeless applicant by a private rented sector offer in Wolverhampton.

Local authorities may hope that this judgment dampens the enthusiasm for challenges to out of area offers following the Supreme Court decision in Nzolameso.

Highlights of the judgment include the Judge:

* Agreeing with Matt’s description of the review decision as “unusually detailed and lucid”

* Holding that the reviewing officer’s finding of fact that the council had been unable to find any suitable accommodation in Brent was “the beginning and the end” of the section 208 argument

* Holding that there was “nothing unlawful about” the statement in Brent’s placement policy that attendance of children at a local school was not a reason for refusal

* Holding that “I can detect nothing unlawful in” the general presumption in the placement policy that accommodation offered would be outside London

* Finding that there was no inconsistency between the broad geographical zones under the placement policy and sourcing accommodation concentrically

* Finding that the reviewing officer’s decision that the applicant did not qualify for an in borough offer, on the basis that a move would “seriously impact on their well-being”, was not irrational and therefore must be upheld

For a  copy of the judgment please click here.

Matt Hutchings QC acted for the London Borough of Brent.