What Does “Significantly” Mean?
Panayiotou v London Borough of Waltham Forest B5/2016/1023 and Smith v London Borough of Haringey B5/2016/3856
Section 189(1) of the Housing Act 1996 identifies those who have “priority need for accommodation”. In the case of Hotak v Southwark UKSC  A.C. 811;  2 W.L.R. 1341 Lord Neuberger used the term “significantly more vulnerable than ordinarily vulnerable” when determining what is meant by “vulnerable” in section 189(1)(c) of the Housing Act 1996. If a local housing authority determines that a homeless applicant is “vulnerable” in this sense then such a person has a priority need for accommodation. However, County Court Judges have adopted differing interpretations of what is meant by the term.
The Court of Appeal was today due to conclude hearing the conjoined cases of Panayiotou v London Borough of Waltham Forest B5/2016/1023 and Smith v London Borough of Haringey B5/2016/3856. Although originally listed for the 10 -11 May, unfortunately, there was no judicial availability to hear this appeal on the 10th. It is presently being urgently relisted. It follows that we will have to wait a little longer to discover what Lord Neuberger meant by his use of the term “significantly”.
David Lintott is instructed for the London Borough of Waltham Forest on the appeal.