Regina v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea ex p Bayani: 1990

The court set out authoritative guidance as to the scope of a reviewing court’s power to interfere on the ground of the insufficiency of inquiry by a local authority to whom a homelessness application had been made. Neill LJ said: ‘(1) The duty to make inquiries is to make such inquiries as are necessary to satisfy the authority … It follows therefore that as it is the authority which have to be satisfied the scope and scale of the inquiries is, primarily at least, a matter for them. But the introduction of the word ‘necessary’ indicates that there is a standard which those inquiries must observe. In other words, the inquiries must be those which are ‘necessary’ to enable the authority to make a decision. (2) If the court is to intervene by way of judicial review, it must be on the basis, as I see it, that the inquiries have not reached the required standard in the circumstances of the case . . . (3) In deciding how a reasonable authority would have acted and what inquiries they would have made in the circumstances, the court must have regard to the speech of Lord Brightman in R v Hillingdon LBC ex parte Puhlhofer [1986] AC 484 where he said . . ‘it is not, in my opinion, appropriate that the remedy of judicial review, which is a discretionary remedy, should be made use of to monitor the actions of local authorities under the Act save in the exceptional case . . Where the existence or non-existence of a fact is left to the judgment and discretion of a public body and that fact involves a broad spectrum ranging from the obvious to the debatable to the just conceivable, it is the duty of the court to leave the decision of that fact to the public body to whom Parliament has entrusted the decision-making power save in a case where it is obvious that the public body, consciously or unconsciously, are acting perversely’ ‘.


Neill LJ


(1990) 22 HLR 406


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Gravesham Borough Council ex parte Winchester 1986
The court considered the nature of the assessment required of a housing auithority when application was made by a person claiming to be homeless. Simon Brown J said: ‘The duty to make necessary inquiries is not a duty to make all inquiries in fact . .
CitedRegina v Hillingdon London Borough Council Ex parte Puhlhofer HL 2-Jan-1986
Not Homeless Even if Accomodation Inadequate
The applicants, a married couple, lived with a young child and later also a baby in one room of a guest house. They were given breakfast but had no cooking or washing facilities. They succeeded on a judicial review of the housing authority’s . .
CitedRegina v Nottingham City Council ex parte Costello 1989
The court considered the nature of the duty to make inquiries imposed on a local authority faced with a homelessness application: ‘The duty to make necessary inquiries is not a duty to make all inquiries in fact necessary before the truth can be . .

Cited by:

CitedCramp v Hastings Borough Council CA 29-Jul-2005
Cases challenged successful appeals by applicants for housing for homelessness, where a county court had ordered a second review of the application. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 06 December 2022; Ref: scu.229852