Successful challenge in homelessness cases

Bhatia Best has represented four individuals in linked appeals against Birmingham City Council, challenging the authority’s decision to refuse eligibility for homelessness support, under Part 7 Housing Act 1996.

The Appellants in each of the four appeals had approached the authority for support, complaining that they had exhausted all other avenues in the United Kingdom and that, absent assistance from the authority under the homelessness provisions of the Housing Act 1996, they would have been compelled to leave the EU along with their British National children, for whom they were the sole carers.

The authority concluded in each of the four cases that the mere fact that the appellants had managed to secure support from alternative avenues throughout their time in the UK was evidence enough to suggest that they were not reliant on the authority and, absent support from the authority would secure support by other means.  As such the authority concluded that the appellants were not ‘Zambrano carers’ as they would not be forced to leave the EU absent support from the authority under the Housing Act.

HHJ McKenna handed down judgment on 19.9.13 and concluded that there was a significant error in each of the four decisions by the local authority.  In summary the judge concluded “it cannot arguably be suggested that a mother with no family in the UK, no support network, no entitlement to public funds, no money and no available charitable support would remain in the UK on the streets rather than return to their respective countries of origin.”

The decisions of the authority have been quashed and remitted back to the authority for further consideration in light of HHJ McKenna’s judgment.

Please feel free to contact our Public Law Team on 0115 9503231 to discuss the content of this judgment in further detail.