This sounds like a rather odd case, noted on the Garden Court bulletin. It is a refusal to grant permission for Judicial Review of a Council’s refusal to carry out a review of the method it had decided upon to discharge its full housing duty.
Still with me? Right.
R (Miah) v Tower Hamlets LBC  EWHC 4434 (Admin) [note on the Garden Court bulletin]
Ms M applied as homeless to Tower Hamlets. She had the beneficial interest in a property (not the legal title) and the property was tenanted. TH’s initial decision, that she was not homeless because she had the house, was eventually quashed in a s.204 appeal. The County Court decided that the house was not ‘available’ to Ms M because it was tenanted.
Tower Hamlets then accepted a full housing duty but decided it would fulfil that duty by giving advice and assistance to Ms M to secure her own accommodation by obtaining possession against the tenant of the property.
Ms M asked for a review of this decision, but Tower Hamlets declined to carry out a review. Ms M issued a judicial review claim of this refusal to review.
According to the Garden Court bulletin, the High Court refused permission on the basis that:
The claimant could pursue the county court appeal or put new information to the council indicating why she could not proceed with an eviction as it had proposed.
I’ve now seen a transcript. It appears that it is was accepted by both parties after discussion in the hearing:
“that the decision letter under challenge of 28 May this year is a decision in respect of which the claimant has a right of appeal to the County Court on a point of law. Though, as the Defendant declined to review the original decision, it cannot be a case where the claimant can say that she is dissatisfied with the decision on the review because there was no review, it can however be characterised as a case where no review had been carried out and notified within the prescribed period.”
That answers my initial puzzlement about this decision, given that s.204 provides:
(1)If an applicant who has requested a review under section 202—
(a)is dissatisfied with the decision on the review, or
(b)is not notified of the decision on the review within the time prescribed under section 203,he may appeal to the county court on any point of law arising from the decision or, as the case may be, the original decision.
I could see no provision for a s.204 appeal of a refusal to conduct a review, just of the decision on review, or a review decision not being made in time. But it appears to have been accepted here that a refusal to conduct a review amounted to ‘not notifying’ the applicant of the review decision in the prescribed time.
On that basis, the High Court decided that there was another, more appropriate route for a remedy. Despite Ms M arguing that the best she could get from a s.204 appeal was a determination that the decision refusing to carry out a review was an error of law, but that would not get her the review requested, the High Court accepted that there was little else that it could order too.
So, apparently a refusal to carry out a s.202 review counts as not notifying the applicant of the review decision within the time prescribed and the appropriate route is s.204. ]