The Supreme Court grants permission to appeal in Samuels v Birmingham City Council

4 March 2018

The Supreme Court, on 19th February 2018, granted permission to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal in Samuels v Birmingham City Council [2015] EWCA Civ 1051, [2015] HLR 47. Garden Court North Chambers’ James Stark, instructed by the Community Law Partnership (CLP), has appeared for Ms Samuels throughout.

In October 2015 the Court of Appeal dismissed Ms Samuels appeal against the decision of HHJ Worcester, dismissing her section 204 homeless appeal against the decision of Birmingham City Council that she was intentionally homeless because she could have made up the shortfall between her rent and her housing benefit from her subsistence benefits, but failed to do so.

The appeal to the Supreme Court concerns two important issues:

  • Whether a local authority can decide that an individual is intentionally homeless when to have been able to pay the rent they would have had to divert considerable sums from their subsistence benefits to do so due to a substantial shortfall in housing benefit caused by the local housing allowance cap; and
  • The sufficiency of reasons in a case concerning an assessment of the affordability of accommodation.

The reason for the delay between the Court of Appeal giving judgment and the obtaining of permission to appeal from the Supreme Court is set out in detail in CLP’s blog, but in summary the Legal Aid Agency repeatedly refused to fund an application for permission to appeal because it believed there was little prospect of such permission being granted.

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