FRIDAY LAW REPORT: Housing Act Provision Incompatible with Human Rights

By Kate O'Hanlon, Barrister | The Independent (London, England), October 21, 2005 | Go to article overview
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FRIDAY LAW REPORT: Housing Act Provision Incompatible with Human Rights


Kate O'Hanlon, Barrister, The Independent (London, England)


21 OCTOBER 2005

Regina (on the application of Morris) v Westminster City Council and another; Regina (on the application of Badhu) v Lambeth London Borough Council ([2005] EWCA Civ 1184)

Court of Appeal, Civil Division (Lord Justice Auld, Lord Justice Sedley and Lord Justice Jonathan Parker) 14 October 2005

Section 185(4) of the Housing Act 1996 was incompatible with article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights to the extent that it required a dependent child of a British citizen, if both were habitually resident in the United Kingdom, to be disregarded when determining whether the British citizen had a priority need for accommodation, when that child was subject to immigration control. A public authority was precluded neither by the Human Rights Act 1998 nor by the common law from using one of its statutory powers to assist a person whom it had been obliged to refuse under another of its statutory powers or duties.

The Court of Appeal (Jonathan Parker LJ dissenting) dismissed the appeal of Westminster City Council and the First Secretary of State against a declaration that section 185(4) of the Housing Act 1996 was incompatible with article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and allowed an application for judicial review of the failure of Lambeth London Borough Council to accord priority housing status to Mr Badhu. The First Secretary of State was an interested party to the application.

Westminster and the Secretary of State appealed against a declaration granted in judicial review proceedings that section 185(4) of the Housing Act 1996, to the extent that it required a dependent child of a British citizen to be disregarded when determining whether the British citizen had a priority need for accommodation when that child was subject to immigration control, was incompatible with article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In Mr Badhu's application, the issue was whether the incompatibility of the Convention with section 185(4) compelled local authorities to use their other powers, or whether it had the diametrically opposite effect of preventing them from doing so.

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FRIDAY LAW REPORT: Housing Act Provision Incompatible with Human Rights
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