In a ruling of practical and procedural significance to local authorities and social landlords, the Court of Appeal has refused to direct that an AIDS sufferer be provided with temporary accommodation pending his appeal against a decision that he had made himself intentionally homeless.
The man, who is in a fragile state of health, had been given a temporary home by a local authority following a period of street homelessness. However, the council later decided that it owed no duty to find him a permanent home under the Housing Act 1996 on the basis that he had abandoned a previous assured shorthold tenancy and thus bore responsibility for his own homelessness.
The man’s appeal against that decision was dismissed by the county court and the council subsequently refused to keep him in temporary accommodation and issued him with notice to quit. The council maintained that position after the man lodged an appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Faced with imminent eviction, the man made an emergency application to the Court for an injunction restraining the council from removing him from his temporary home pending the hearing of his application for permission to appeal. However, the Court ruled that it had no jurisdiction to grant such interim relief in the circumstances.
It was not a case in which the Court could exercise its ‘implicit jurisdiction’ to devise a non-statutory means of providing a remedy for a possible injustice where no other means were available. The Court ruled that the correct legal route for the man to follow was to seek judicial review of the council’s refusal to maintain him in his temporary home pending appeal. The Court declined to re-constitute itself as an administrative court in order to consider such an application.