Successful appeal of finding that former asylum seeker was not a “vulnerable” homeless person

Monday 16 June 2014

Tim Baldwin acting for Mr Qoraishi (the Appellant) successfully appealed a Local Authority's decision not to provide homelessness assistance.

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Mr Qoraishi was served a notice to quit by the hostel he was staying at as he had overstayed his allocated period. He subsequently applied as homeless and completed a medical assessment. It was identified that he had mental health problems inclusive of depression and acute anxiety, and also that he suffered from physical health problems. Initially the City of Westminster, after an assessment, decided that Mr Qoraishi was not vulnerable within the meaning of the test in Pereira and Osmani.

However, Mr Qoraishi issued a section 204 appeal. HHJ Hornby allowed the Appellant's appeal and quashed the review decision by the City of Westminster with remission for reconsideration. HHJ Hornby made the Respondent pay the Appellant's costs on the section 204 appeal, dismissed the 204A appeal but made no order as to costs on that appeal.

Tim Baldwin representing Mr Qoraishi said:

"It was a pleasure to represent Mr Qoraishi in this case and I am very pleased at the outcome. It has always struck me as a challenging legal concept in English and Welsh law that in defining someone as "vulnerable" for the purposes of a duty on a local authority to provide homelessness assistance the law provides for a definition of an "ordinary street homeless person" who can fend for themselves to find housing if street homeless without them suffering injury and detriment and while imbuing them with certain characteristics including mental health problems and other vulnerability.

With the benefit of representations made by my colleagues at Garden Court Chambers and Shelter Wales in relation to the Housing (Wales) Bill, the Welsh Government may be persuaded to change that definition so as to make the comparator the ordinary person when homeless rather than the already vulnerable "ordinary homeless person", a change which in my view should also be incorporated into English law."

Tim Baldwin of the Housing Team was instructed by Mr Jayesh Kunwardia of Hodge Jones & Allen.

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