Costs and s.204 Appeals

None of us I think can be blamed for presuming that in statutory homelessness appeals, costs ought to follow the event. It seems, though, that not all judges view appeals in this way and the Court of Appeal will shortly be looking at this issue in the case of Lu v LB Southwark B5/2012/2107.

The case in summary concerns a finding of intentional homelessness against an applicant and a misdirection on the question of whether it was reasonable for the applicant (and her as yet unborn child) to continue to occupy their accommodation. The first instance judge allowed the appeal and, having heard argument that the applicant had not raised the issue of reasonableness in her review representations, made no order for costs because the outcome of the appeal was not obvious.

Permission to bring a second appeal was granted by Lewison LJ  on 16/10/12 on the ground that whether costs should follow the event in homelessness appeals raised an important point of principle. The Judge also observed that this was strictly a first appeal on the question of costs and that in addition, the appeal had a real prospect of success.

The appeal is due to be heard in May 2013.

SJM is partner and head of the housing and public law department at Miles and Partners LLP, based in London E1.


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