10 August 2011

This was a claim for judicial review about whether the council owed an accommodation duty under section 21 National Assistance Act 1948. The decision reviews all the modern caselaw and provides a good starting point for someone coming to this issue for the first time.

At the date of the judicial review hearing, the claimant was a failed asylum seeker with a history of mental health problems. He had sought accommodation from the council under National Assistance Act 1948 section 21.

The council reached a decision that the only support he needed was a regular weekly meeting with a social worker and that his other needs could be met by the NHS.

The High Court dismissed a claim for judicial review of that decision.

The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal. They decided that the judge had underestimated the council’s assessment of the claimant’s needs for care and attention. Although his needs only involved regular meetings with a social worker, the social worker was acting, in effect, as the claimant’s care co-ordinator.

It would be absurd to provide a programme of assistance and support through such a care co-ordinator without also providing the obviously necessary basis of stable accommodation.

The court stressed that the need for “care and attention” under section 21 is not necessarily accommodation-related. If an applicant cannot otherwise meet a need for care and attention then, as a result, a duty is normally owed under the Act.

9th May 2013

The council appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal decision. The council's conclusion on the application under the National Assistance Act had not been irrational.


View full transcript of this case

View full case reference