October 1999

No 188

A research report by a team from the University of Leicester's Law faculty examining the practice and policy of new legal rights for homeless people has been published by the Lord Chancellor's Department.

The report, "A Regional Study of Local Authority and Court Processes in Homelessness", by Rachel Atkinson, Trevor Buck, David Pollard and Nicholas Smith was also funded by the LCD.

It looks at procedure and application of the law in the Midland and Oxford Courts Circuit following the introduction of new legal rights for homeless people in 1997. These rights gave them the right to have a statutory review of homelessness decisions made by a local housing authority and a right of appeal to a county court from an adverse review decision. Such grievances had been advanced in the past by judicial review challenge in the High Court.

The study considers and makes recommendations on the current operation of the statutory review procedures in respect of homelessness cases particularly with regard to the effectiveness of local authority processes as a filter mechanism for the potential workload of the courts.

"This study considers and makes recommendations concerning: the breadth of informal resolution by local authorities occurring prior to the statutory review; the diversity of review structures under development; the low level of county court activity in the region; the need for more detailed guidance and training; and the need to produce relevant county court procedural rules," explained Nicholas Smith.

For further information please contact Nicholas Smith, Faculty of Law, University of Leicester. Tel: 0116 252 2347.

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Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: 27 October 1999 16:48
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