Lambeth offers alternative accommodation to Shelter’s client and agrees to conduct a fresh, in-person assessment of his case with due regard to the impact of his disabilities.

9 Feb 2024

The London Borough of Lambeth has conceded that it had been in breach of the statutory duties that it owed to Shelter’s client (AD) under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 for nearly 16 months. In a last-ditch effort to avoid the substantive judicial review hearing before Mr Justice Richie, the Council conceded each of the three judicial review grounds and agreed to an order which granted Shelter’s client each of the remedies he had hoped to secure in the High Court.

AD approached the Council for homelessness assistance in September 2022 with the assistance of a charity who had found him sleeping in his car. As a result of a workplace accident, AD had developed lymphoedema (i.e. long-term swelling in his feet and lower legs). He was unable to work and could not find a home. The Council failed to assess his case and consider his disability. Instead, it placed him in a property which was obviously unsuitable for him. Despite an acknowledgement from its own staff that the property was unsuitable, Lambeth refused to secure alternative accommodation, nor assess his case and consider the impact of his disability on his housing needs.

AD approached Shelter Legal Services for assistance and in August 2023 they filed his judicial review claim. After he was granted permission, the Council made an offer of alternative accommodation, and the parties agreed to stay the claim. That property also turned out to be blatantly unsuitable for AD, so he applied to reinstate his claim in December 2023 with amended grounds of judicial review. He was granted permission on all three amended grounds, and the claim was expedited.

The claim asserted that the Council had failed to secure suitable accommodation for him. AD further claimed that Lambeth had failed to conduct a lawful assessment of his case: the document which purported to record that assessment fell woefully short of the standard required by the 1996 Act and Chapter 11 of the Code of Guidance. Finally, the grounds accused the Council of failing to have due regard to AD’s disability, in breach of its public sector equality duty.

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