Laura Tweedy succeeds in homelessness case in the Supreme Court

20 May 2015

Judgment was handed down today in the Supreme Court case of Haile v London Borough of Waltham Forest [2015] UKSC 34, finding in favour of Ms Haile and distinguishing the well know case of Din.

At Paragraph 23 Lord Reed said “As counsel for the appellant submitted, the homelessness with which the words “became homeless intentionally” are concerned must be the homelessness which the authority have found to exist: “is homeless” and “became homeless” must refer to the same current state of being homeless. It is therefore in relation to the current state of being homeless that the question has to be answered, did the applicant become homeless intentionally?”

The decision is likely to have significant consequences for all local authorities in the country, as it changes the parameters in which local authorities have to house homeless people. Where there is deliberate conduct which would ordinarily give rise to a finding of intentional homelessness, if raised, the council must now consider whether the chain of causation should nevertheless be regarded as having been interrupted by some other event and “the question will be whether the proximate cause of the homelessness is an event which is unconnected to the applicant’s own earlier conduct, and in the absence of which homelessness would probably not have occurred.” (paragraph 63)

Laura Tweedy was led by Kerry Bretherton.