Feld, Lord Mayor and Citizens of the City of Westminster v London Borough of Barnet, Lord Mayor and Citizens of the City of Westminster: CA 18 Oct 2004

The applicants sought housing as homeless people. After the refusal of their applications, they sought a review, and in due course a second review. That second review was conducted by the same officer who had conducted the first. The appellant asserted bias on the part of the head of the housing needs and resources of the local authority in conducting the review of the suitability of the accommodation offered to her as a homeless person.
Held: The question in each case is whether or not all the circumstances which have a bearing on the question whether the reviewing officers were biased would lead a fair-minded and informed observer to conclude that there was a real possibility that they were not impartial. No suggestion was made that either reviewing officer was actually biased. The reviewing officer is not reviewing his or her own earlier decision but is starting afresh to review a second decision as to the suitability of the accommodation offered to the homeless person in the letter of offer made to him or her. Here there was no apparent bias, and the appeal by the local authorities was allowed.
‘Trained decision-makers should not be treated as inferior beings intellectually unable to approach the task with an open mind. The fair-minded and informed observer would have that in mind.’
Lord Justice Mance Lord Justice Ward Jackson, Mr Justice Jackson
[2004] EWCA Civ 1307, Times 26-Oct-2004, [2005] BLGR 411, [2005] HLR 9
Housing Act 1996 202
England and Wales
CitedRuna Begum v London Borough of Tower Hamlets (First Secretary of State intervening) HL 13-Feb-2003
The appellant challenged the procedure for reviewing a decision made as to the suitability of accomodation offered to her after the respondent had accepted her as being homeless. The procedure involved a review by an officer of the council, with an . .
CitedThe Secretary of State for Health, Dorset County Council v The Personal Representative of Christopher Beeson CA 18-Dec-2002
The deceased had been adjudged by his local authority to have deprived himself of his house under the Regulations. Complaint was made that the procedure did not allow an appeal and therefore deprived him of his rights under article 6.
Held: . .
CitedPorter and Weeks v Magill HL 13-Dec-2001
Councillors Liable for Unlawful Purposes Use
The defendant local councillors were accused of having sold rather than let council houses in order to encourage an electorate which would be more likely to be supportive of their political party. They had been advised that the policy would be . .
CitedLawal v Northern Spirit Limited HL 19-Jun-2003
Counsel appearing at the tribunal had previously sat as a judge with a tribunal member. The opposing party asserted bias in the tribunal.
Held: The test in Gough should be restated in part so that the court must first ascertain all the . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Doody and Others HL 25-Jun-1993
A mandatory lifer is to be permitted to suggest the period of actual sentence to be served. The Home Secretary must give reasons for refusing a lifer’s release. What fairness requires in any particular case is ‘essentially an intuitive judgment’, . .

Cited by:
CitedSwash v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 26-Jul-2006
The appellant challenged refusal of the grant of leave to remain in the UK. The court was asked as to the approach to be adopted by the AIT on reconsideration of an appeal when it has concluded that there was an error of law in the original . .
CitedHeald and Others v London Borough of Brent CA 20-Aug-2009
The court considered whether it was lawful for a local authority to outsource the decision making on homelessness reviews. The appellants said that it could not be contracted out, and that the agent employed lacked the necessary independence and was . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 14 May 2021; Ref: scu.216635