MM, Regina (on the Application of) v London Borough of Lewisham: Admn 6 Mar 2009

The court considered the extent of an Authority’s duties when a young woman (17) came to its attention under section 17 of the 1989 Act. The claimant was fleeing the domestic violence of her partner. The authority had said that she should seek help not from Social Services but instead through family services or victim support.
Held: The first response was not adequate: ‘The summary consideration given to the referral fell far below the standard required by law. The fact that the claimant had been in the refuge for some 4 months should have given rise to concern. The Social Services authority must have been aware of the undesirability of a 17 year old being housed with adults in temporary accommodation for victims of domestic violence for such an extended period of time. It is difficult to see how any Social Services authority could have concluded that the claimant’s housing needs had been properly met for some 4 months, nor how it could have concluded that suitable accommodation could be provided in a hostel. The Social Services authority paid no regard to the fact that it was the worker at the refuge who had applied for Social Services to support the claimant because she was ‘vulnerable and lacked ‘life skills”. Had the refuge considered that the claimant’s needs could have been met simply by a housing application under Part VII Housing Act 1996, it could have applied to the housing department.’ Later decisions were also flawed.

Sir George Newman
[2009] EWHC 416 (Admin)
Children Act 1989 17
England and Wales
CitedM, Regina (on the Application of) v Gateshead Council CA 14-Mar-2006
The applicant had left care, but still received assistance. She was arrested and the police asked the attending social worker to arrange secure accommodation overnight. The respondent refused. The court was asked what duty (if any) is owed by local . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, Local Government

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.316593