There is always a danger in reading too much into a Westlaw note of judgment and, as we all know, context is everything, but even allowing for that, the decision in R (Bereket) v Waltham Forest LBC QBD, 4 November 2021 (Westlaw note only) looks like a very mean decision to me and one I firmly hope is appealed.
Ms Bereket applied to LBWF for homelessness assistance. The authority accepted that it owed her a duty and offered her temporary accommodation in Luton. She rejected the offer as it was too far from her friends and family. The local authority explained why the property was suitable and gave a deadline for acceptance. Ms Bereket refused it again for the same reasons. The authority then decided that their duties had been discharged. She was told of her right to a review and, in a subsequent telephone call, was told the email address to use in order to request a review. She duly wrote to that address. Her email did not refer to any review but explained why the property was not suitable by reference to her need to stay in the local area (including, now, that her son had started school).
The LA decided this was not a request for a review and she sought judicial review. The issue, therefore, was whether there had been a request for a review.
The High Court found for the local authority. Whether the email amounted to a request for a review depended on its substance. There was no request to reconsider the decision; there was only a list of reasons why she was refusing the Luton accommodation.
I must say, that seems like a harsh decision to me. The purpose of giving all the reasons why Luton was rejected was, surely, to ask the LA to think again. What is that if not a request for a review? I hope this goes on appeal.