Benefits for renters in a cost of living crisis - Free Webinar

Thursday 20 October 2022


This webinar was brought to you by the Garden Court Chambers Housing and Welfare Benefits Teams.

Date: Thursday 20 October 2022
Time: 5pm - 6.30pm
Venue: Online  
Cost: Free
Areas of Law: Housing Law , Welfare Benefits Law

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This webinar on welfare benefits is of particular interest to housing practitioners and others working with clients who are especially at risk in the current cost of living crisis.

Speakers provided an overview of recent policy and legislative changes, including:

  • The widening of the exemptions from the shared accommodation rate of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) to include victims of domestic abuse and victims of modern slavery
  • Updates of guidance on ‘Breathing Space’ debt relief

As well as a review of recent case law, including:

  • R (Blundel & Ors) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2021] EWHC 608 (Admin) on limiting the amount that can be deduced from Universal Credit (UC) for court fines
  • R (Timson) v Secretary 0f State for Work and Pensions [2022] EWHC 2392 (Admin)) on the need for the DWP to seek representations from claimants before applying a third-party deduction
  • The position of those with pre-settled status following the ruling in Fratila and another v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2021] UKSC 53.


Matthew Ahluwalia, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers (Chair)
Matthew is a social welfare and public law barrister. He has a particular interest and experience in housing, homelessness, public law, welfare benefits, and migrants’ rights. Matthew’s experience enables him to provide a holistic approach. Matthew is an experienced tribunal advocate with particular expertise in Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance, as well as cases concerning the right to reside and eligibility. He is also a contributing author to the most recent Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) Benefits for Migrants Handbook.

Bethan Harris, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Bethan Harris is an experienced practitioner specialising in community care law, housing law and Court of Protection health and welfare. She brings her wealth of expertise in all these areas to complex cases which often include consideration of public law principles, equality and discrimination and capacity issues. Bethan's housing work includes judicial review, Children Act 1989, housing benefits, Equality Act 2010 issues, mental capacity and housing, disabilities facilities grants and rights to adaptations. She specialises in particular in cases involving both housing and community care law. 

Bethan co-writes the annual Housing Benefit and UC Housing Costs Update for Legal Action Magazine. She is a headnote editor for the Community Care Law Reports. She is panel counsel to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Bethan is counsel in the legal team representing Welsh bereaved families in the Covid-19 Public Inquiry.

Adrian Berry, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Adrian’s practice spans a range of inter-related public law areas concerning citizenship, immigration, human rights, international protection, and social assistance. Adrian regularly acts and advises in all areas of homelessness and allocations law concerning matters that are amenable to judicial review and in statutory homelessness appeals in the county court. In particular, he specialises in eligibility issues for migrants, appearing in numerous, reported cases.

Adrian’s expertise in social housing is in securing accommodation and housing for migrants. He provides a distinct service to solicitors with migrant clients based on being a one-stop shop on account of his fluency in housing, immigration, nationality, EU, ECHR and social security law. Adrian acts and advises clients in the First-tier and Upper Tribunal in social security, healthcare and pensions cases, including but not limited to cases that touch on immigration issues, EU law issues, pensions and points of statutory construction.

Desmond Rutledge, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Desmond's main area of practice is welfare benefits. Advises on statutory appeals (if exceptional funding is available) and judicial review where this is the appropriate remedy. He also accepts instructions defending possession claims for rent arrears and homelessness appeals, particularly on intentionality or affordability or eligibility based on immigration status. His published work includes the Housing Benefit Update (Legal Action Magazine) and the Housing Law Handbook (Law Society 2021). His recent cases include R (T & Ors) v SSWP [2022] EWHC 351 (Admin) (the failure to pay the covid-uplift to those on legacy benefits).

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