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Dragic V Wandsworth [2011]

Dragic v Wandsworth London Borough Council
Thursday, February 10, 2011

High Court (QBD), January 21, 2011

Michael Supperstone QC, sitting as a Deputy Judge

The High Court has held that a review decision under s.202, Housing Act 1996, is properly notified to the applicant for the purposes of s.203(3), 1996 Act, if it is sent to his solicitors. It is not necessary for the decision also to be sent to the applicant himself.

David Lintott of Cornerstone Barristers appeared for the Respondent authority.

The appellant applied to the respondent authority for assistance under Pt 7, Housing Act 1996. The authority accepted that they owed the appellant a duty to secure accommodation for him and made the appellant an offer of accommodation in discharge of that duty. The appellant rejected the offer and sought a review under s.202, 1996 Act. The authority upheld their original decision, which was recorded in a letter dated March 23, 2010. That letter was received by the appellant's solicitors on March 25, 2010. Accordingly, assuming that sending the letter to the solicitors constituted notification of the decision under the 1996 Act, the appellant had until April 14, 2010 to bring an appeal under s.204, 1996 Act. He issued an appeal on April 19, 2010.

On July 5, 2010, the appellant applied for an extension of time for appealing under s.204(2A), 1996 Act. In the alternative, the appellant argued that there was no need to extend time because s.204(2) provides that "An appeal must be brought within 21 days of his being notified of the decision" and therefore s.203(3), 1996 Act, required the decision letter to be sent to the appellant and it was not sufficient to send it to his solicitors. The circuit judge rejected that argument and dismissed the application for an extension of time.

The appellant appealed to the High Court. Dismissing the appeal, the court held that the general rule is that notification to an agent is sufficient where the agent is authorised (or can be presumed to be authorised) to receive the document: R. v Chief Immigration Officer Ex p. Begum applied. There was nothing in the 1996 Act which displaced this general rule.