The Supreme Court grants permission for Crisis to intervene in landmark “homelessness duty” case


The Supreme Court has granted permission for Crisis, the UK national charity for homelessness, to intervene in R (Imam) v Croydon LBC. The appeal concerns the nature of the duty owed by local housing authorities to homeless people under section 193(2) of the Housing Act 1996, (i.e. the provision of “suitable” housing) and how to enforce a breach of the duty.

Last year, the Court of Appeal unanimously held that the s.193(2) duty is an immediate and unqualified duty to secure suitable accommodation which was enforceable by mandatory injunction; it was for a local authority to persuade the court why no injunction should be granted and, in trying to so persuade the court, any alleged shortage of financial or housing resources were not relevant factors.

Croydon LBC has now been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will focus on whether budgetary constraints imposed or otherwise impacting upon a housing authority discharging its duty under s.193(2) are irrelevant to whether a mandatory order is appropriate once the housing authority has accepted that a person is homeless and that their current accommodation is unsuitable.

The appeal will have significant ramifications for those living in temporary accommodation, many of whom are already negatively impacted by being housed there. Crisis has been granted permission to intervene in order to assist the Supreme Court in understanding the potential impact of its decision in this case on those living in temporary accommodation, and to provide wider context to the appeal.

Justin Bates, Harriet Wakeman and Barney McCay are acting pro bono for Crisis (instructed by Giles Peaker at Anthony Gold Solicitors) in the appeal. The appeal will be heard in early May 2023.

Download your shortlist

Download All Download icon