UK Supreme Court grants permission to appeal in homeless test case: GCC v. X

The UK Supreme Court has granted permission to appeal for the petitioner and appellant in Glasgow City Council v. X, a case that considered the extent of the statutory duty of councils to provide suitable temporary homeless accommodation that meets the assessed needs of homeless households.

Permission was granted on 12 February 2024 by Lord Hodge, Lord Sales and Lady Simler on three grounds of appeal: statutory construction; statutory guidance; and misdirection of law. This week the Scottish Legal Aid Board granted full civil legal aid which will enable the appeal to proceed.

The central issue in the judicial review of X v. Glasgow City Council [2022] CSOH 35 was whether a local authority was under an absolute legal obligation to provide accommodation suitable for occupation by a homeless household, taking into account “the needs of a household”. The petitioner said it was. The respondent said it was not: the respondent had a discretion to balance the needs of the household against other demands on the respondent’s finite resources. Lord Ericht found in favour of the petitioner.

However, the respondent reclaimed (appealed) the decision of the Outer House of the Court of Session and the Second Division found in favour of the council in Glasgow City Council v X and Shelter, the National Campaign for Homeless People Limited (Interveners) [2023] CSIH 7.

The case concerns article 4(b) of The Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2014 (“the 2014 Order”) and the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987.

The Inner House held that temporary homeless housing provided by local authorities will likely be deemed to be suitable if it “generally meets the needs” of the household as a group.

GLC believes this appeal is one of the most significant homeless and public law cases in Scotland in the last twenty years.

The petitioner and appellant is represented by Roddy Dunlop KC, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates and Mike Dailly, Solicitor Advocate; Charis Brooks and Lorna Walker are instructing solicitors and Laura McDonagh, Partner of Drummond Miller LLP act as Edinburgh and London agents.

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