Court of Appeal agrees to hear challenge to finding of intentional homelessness after eviction from ‘move on’ accommodation

The Court of Appeal has granted permission to appeal in a case concerning eviction from ‘move on’ accommodation.

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council had found Leon Russell had been evicted from the accommodation due to his behaviour and was therefore intentionally homeless.

He appealed to a county court under s204 of the Housing Act 1996, citing cases – Ali v Birmingham and Moran v Manchester – where the Supreme Court held that someone who lived in a women’s refuge remained homeless when living there as it could only ever be temporary temporary accommodation.

Mr Russell argued that his ‘move on’ accommodation was by its nature temporary and so he remained unintentionally homeless.

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Recorder Kangoure, in his judgment, had held that the ‘move on’ accommodation could be distinguished from the refuge accommodation in Moran and dismissed the appeal.

Lord Justice Arnold granted permission for a second appeal, because “the grounds of appeal have a real prospect of success and raise an important point of principle as to the ambit of the decision in Ali v Birmingham City Council”.

Community Law Partnership, acting for Mr Russell, asked the Legal Aid Agency to grant funding but then had to issue the appeal ‘at risk’ because there was no legal aid in place.

It said an application to amend the legal aid certificate, supported by 56 pages of documentation including counsel’s opinion and grounds of appeal, was twice refused.

When it appealed against this refusal the firm said the LAA refused this without reasons, at which point it issued a judicial review pre-action letter.

Community Law Partnership said at that point reasons was provided, enabling it to appeal to an adjudicator who said legal aid should be granted.

The hearing before the Court of Appeal is due in early 2021.

Mark Smulian

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