Enfield LBC ex p Yumsak (unreported – judgment 5 February 2002)

The local authority decided to place a single parent refugeee, who had lived in borough for 8 years while awaiting the determination of her asylum application, and who had epilepsy, 3 young children, little English and an ex partner anxious to retain contact with the children, in bed and breakfast temporary accommodation in Birmingham.

The challenge succeeded on grounds of unreasonableness and breach of article 8 of the Convention – respect for private life, family life and the home. The Court was unmoved by the authority’s assertions that given what they knew at the time, housing pressures locally etc, the non-critical stage of the children’s education, the supposedly temporary nature of the move etc., the decision was not unreasonable. She had no family or friends in Birmingham, one child was receiving out-patient treatment in London for a fractured collar bone; overall, whilst not an example of extreme irrationality, the allocation was not justified. In addition, the authority was ordered to determine the claimant’s substantive housing application within 21 days.  

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