An impossible position

Nearly Legal has written an interesting post today regarding the Court of Appeal judgment in Manchester City Council v Moran & Richards v Ipswich Borough Council [2008] EWCA Civ 378, a decision that could have very serious consequences for women's refuges.

The two appeals, heard together, concerned two women who were occupying women's refuges and who both sought rehousing by the local authority after deliberately acting so as to cause themselves to be evicted from the refuges. In both cases the question arose as to whether the refuges were "accommodation ... which it would have been reasonable for [them] to continue to occupy", as if so then they would be intentionally homeless, and they would therefore be refused rehousing. Lord Justice Wilson found that in both cases the accommodation was such that it was reasonable for the women to remain, and therefore they had made themselves intentionally homeless. He set out a list of factors to be considered in assessing refuge accommodation for homeless applicants. As Nearly Legal says, refuges "will not be certain whether a woman that they take in will be able to make a homeless application [while] at the refuge. They will have to consider the list of factors set out in the judgment in each and every case, as what might be reasonable for one woman’s circumstances, will not be for another. They will have to consider limiting the support that they offer. It effectively leaves them in an impossible position."