R v Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council, ex parte Kihara

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Judgment Date25 June 1996
Date25 June 1996
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)

Court of Appeal

Before Lord Justice Neill, Lord Justice Simon Brown and Lord Justice Waite

Kensington and Chelsea Royal London Borough Council, Ex parte Kihara Regina v Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council, Ex parte Ilunga-Ilunga Regina v Westminster City Council, Ex parte Pavlov Regina v Islington London Borough Council, Ex parte Araya

Housing - priority need - 'other special reason' circumstances of asylum seekers

Asylum-seekers entitled to homes

Homeless asylum-seekers who were deprived by recent regulations of all income support and housing benefits and were utterly without resources were "vulnerable" as a result of some "other special reason" within the meaning of section 59(1)(c) of the Housing Act 1985. Accordingly, they were in priority need of accommodation and had to be housed by the local authority.

The Court of Appeal so held allowing an appeal by the four applicants, Joseph Kihara, Ilunga-Ilunga, Dragomir Pavlov and Lidya Araya, from the decision of Mr Justice Popplewell (The Times May 1, 1996) who had dismissed their applications for judicial review of the decisions of the Royal London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Westminster City Council and the London Borough of Islington that they should not be treated as being in priority need of housing.

The applicants who had not claimed asylum at the point of entry were prevented from getting income and housing benefits. They were prohibited from obtaining employment, had no income, no capital, no family and no friends. Each of the local authorities had decided that each of the applicant's ineligibility for state benefit did not constitute a special reason within the meaning of section 59(1)(c) of the 1985 Act.

Section 59 of the 1985 Act provides:

"(1) The following have a priority need for accommodation … (c) a person who is vulnerable as a result of old age, mental illness or handicap or physical disability or other special reason…"

Mr Richard Drabble, QC and Mr Stephen Knafler for Kihara, Ilunga and Pavlov; Mr David Watkinson for Araya; Mr Timothy Straker, QC and Miss Clare Roberts for Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and Islington; Mr Timothy Straker, QC and Mr Clive H Jones for Westminster.

LORD JUSTICE NEILL said that although the judge's stated conclusion referred to the words "financial impecuniosity", the real issue between the parties was whether the phrase "other special reason" in...

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16 cases
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  • R (M) v Slough Borough Council
    • United Kingdom
    • House of Lords
    • 30 July 2008
    ...(Persons Subject to Immigration Control) Order 1996 (1996 SI No 1982), thus also reversing the effect of R v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Ex parte Kihara and others, unreported, 25 June 20 With all other avenues of support and housing denied to them, asylum seekers turned to sec......
  • London Borough of Tower Hamlets v Runa Begum
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 6 March 2002
    ...aspirations of those on their housing waiting list on the other hand.' (See also ex parte Awua [1996] 1 AC 55 at 72 and ex parte Kihara (1996) 29 HLR 147 at 155). It, thus, has to be borne in mind that any priority system involves striking a balance between the needs of one group of homeles......
  • Jesse Panayiotou v London Borough of Waltham Forest
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    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 19 October 2017
    ...or detriment. If there is not this risk, the person will not be vulnerable." 39 Likewise in R v Kensington & Chelsea LBC ex p Kihara (1997) 29 HLR 147 Neill LJ (with whom Waite LJ agreed said): ""Vulnerable" means vulnerable in the context of a need for housing accommodation." 40 In Osmani ......
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