Crossley v Westminster CC [2006] EWCA Civ 140

In Crossley v Westminster CC [2006] EWCA Civ 140, the applicant asserted that he was in priority need as he was vulnerable for ‘some other special reason’ (s 189(1)(c) of the Housing Act 1996). Despite evidence that the applicant was addicted to hard drugs, had made attempts to stop his drug use and that accommodation would further support and facilitate his recovery, the authority held that he was not vulnerable, as he could continue to receive support even if he were homeless. The county court judge took the view that the authority had reached a conclusion that was unreasonable and perverse. On appeal by the authority, the Court of Appeal held that the decision letter failed to sufficiently deal with the reasons for vulnerability raised by the applicant. The applicant had presented with stark facts pointing towards vulnerability for statutorily recognised reasons and the authority had failed in its obligation to acknowledge, take into account and evaluate those facts alongside the other evidence available. The court went on to comment (obiter) that although self-induced drug-addiction would not constitute “some other special reason”, where a person was attempting to deal with their addiction, the possibility of relapse was a potential “special reason” within the meaning of the legislation. Authorities were also cautioned, that where there might be different causes for alleged vulnerability, they should consider vulnerability as a whole and avoid dividing up different issues affecting an applicant between the different potential causes.
(Source Solicitor's Journal)

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