O v Wandsworth LBC; Bhikha v Leicester County Council [2000] 4 All ER 590 (CA)

S21 National Assistance Act 1948 care and attention – immigration

Section 21(1A) National Assistance Act 1948 should be constructed so that where an applicant’s need for care and attention was, to any material extent, made more acute by some circumstance other than the mere lack of accommodation and funds then, despite being subject to immigration control, he would qualify for assistance. Other relevant circumstances included age, illness and disability, as expressly detailed in s21 of the Act. Whether an applicant would be entitled to assistance would necessarily depend on the local authority’s assessments of his needs. The approach in ex p D was wrong. Section 21 was about needs, not morality and there was no public policy excluding illegal entrants from assistance under s21 NAA 1948.

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