Millie Polimac successful in the Court of Appeal

31st July 2018

Millie recently acted for St Alban’s District Council, one of the respondents in the joined cases Kamara v Southwark LBC; Leach v St Albans City & District Council; Piper v South Bucks DC  [2018] EWCA Civ 1616 in an appeal about  Regulation 8 of The Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Review Procedures) Regulations 1999. This provides the circumstances in which a minded to letter needs to be sent to a homeless applicant before a review decision is made.

The  issue on appeal was the content of a minded to letter.  The appellants argued that the 1999 Regulations required local authorities to inform homeless applicants of the right to demand an oral hearing, following the  decision in Makisi v Birmingham City Council [2011] HLR 27 and the principle of legality that the law must be made known in order to be effective.

The Court of Appeal rejected those arguments and held that the minded to letters which contained the wording of Regulation 8 were lawful.  The right to make representations orally, said the Court, was most readily understood as the right to have an oral hearing, although it was not so limited.

This issue has been increasingly raised in homelessness reviews and there was some conflicting county court authority.  The Court’s decision brings welcome clarification in this area.

The 1999 Regulations have been replaced by The Homelessness (Review Procedure etc.) Regulations 2018.  The relevant provision is now found in Regulation 7.  There has been no material change to the wording of that provision.

The Court’s judgment can be found here