01/07/2007

Gilby v City of Westminster

A Court of Appeal homeless case, Gilby v City of Westminster [2007] EWCA Civ 604 was handed down on 27 June, but I’ve been a bit slow to note it, partly because I’ve been busy and partly because, frankly, it is a bit of a meh of a case. Still, it is a Court of Appeal housing judgment, so…

The Appellant had been refused the housing duty because found intentionally homeless. Since giving up settled accommodation, she had been living in her sister’s Council property, on what basis was not wholly clear.

The s.184 decision was that this was an illegal sub-let, so not settled accommodation. On s.202 review, it was said that this was on a bare licence, so not settled accommodation. The decision was upheld on s.204 appeal. The appeal to the CoA contended that the difference in the view on the nature of the accommodation should have triggered Regulation 8.2 of the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Review Procedures) Regulations 1999. This states that where a reviewer finds there is a deficiency or irregularity in the original decision, but is minded to still find against the applicant, the applicant should be notified of this and given the opportunity to make fresh representatives.

So, was the difference enough to constitute a deficency or irregularity in the original decision, despite the identical finding that it was not settled accommodation?

The Court of Appeal, entirely unsurprisingly, said no. The key question was whether the accommodation was settled. Whether illegal sublet or licence doesn’t matter. A deficiency for Reg. 8.2 means something lacking of sufficient importance to the fairness of the procedure, Hall v. Wandsworth LBC [2005] 2 All ER 192.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

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