Home Office settles case challenging appropriateness of s 95 accommodation

Friday 19 November 2021

Tim Baldwin, of the Garden Court Chambers Community Care Team, represented the client, instructed by Sinead Nowak of Wilsons Solicitors LLP.

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The case of SXO v SSHD (CO/2915/2021) challenged the Claimant’s s 95 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 accommodation and support provided by the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) for herself and her four children. The client, SXO, is an asylum seeker who suffers from numerous medical issues including sickle cell disease for which she has ongoing medical treatment, including pain management. Overall, she has very reduced mobility and is in constant pain and is due for a hip replacement next month. The accommodation she was in was spread over two floors with the bedroom and bathroom upstairs and so was wholly inappropriate. As a result, the accommodation was having an adverse impact on both her physical and mental health.

In November 2018 the Claimant’s first request for relocation to adequate and suitable accommodation was accepted by the Defendant and she was informed that she would be provided with suitable, ground floor accommodation. However, this was not acted upon for years despite chasing. We were instructed earlier this year. Numerous pre-action letters were sent to the SSHD outlining the Claimant’s case and enclosing letters from her medical team which detailed the inappropriateness of her accommodation and the effect it was having on her health.

The case was issued in the Administrative Court due to a lack of substantive action in response to our letters. In an order of 31 August, The Honourable Mrs Justice Foster DBE, ordered that there be a rolled-up hearing for permission and for the substantive case to be considered regarding the inadequate accommodation provided by the SSHD for an asylum seeker and her four children.  The SSHD did not file a Defence ahead of the hearing as ordered and instead made an offer to settle the claim and to provide the Claimant with accommodation by a set date and conceding on permission. Last week, the SSHD provided appropriate accommodation for the Claimant, which was the very last opportunity to do so in line with the agreed consent order. The accommodation was fitted with fully accessible ground floor facilities for the client and was located 10 minutes away from her current accommodation, which ensured that she was still in close proximity to her medical team and also ensured that her children’s education was not disrupted.

Sinead Nowak of Wilsons Solicitors LLP who represented SXO with Tim Baldwin of Garden Court Chambers said:

“This case demonstrates the extent of the delays and subsequent failures of the SSHD to provide adequate support to our most vulnerable clients. Even where they accept the need for alternative accommodation it is clear that without this legal action the inertia would have continued. The client is extremely pleased with the outcome and it means she can now focus on improving her physical and mental health now that she has the appropriate support.”

A version of this press release was first published on Wilsons Solicitors LLP's website on 19/11/2021.

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