Wednesday 22 November 2017

Judge rejects homeless claims against Birmingham City Council

A High Court judge pronounced judgment on four cases by phone to Birmingham after a video link failure
A High Court judge pronounced judgment on four cases by phone to Birmingham after a video link failure

A High Court judge has rejected claims that Birmingham City Council - the largest housing authority in England - is "systemically" turning away homeless applicants.

Four homeless people had taken legal action against the council claiming that individuals were being denied statutory rights and complaining of "systemic failings".

But Mr Justice Hickinbottom has dismissed their claims.

Figures did not support a proposition that as a policy or in practice homeless applicants were being systemically rejected, he said.

The judge said in each of the four cases he had concluded that there had been no breach of duty or no substantial breach of duty.

Mr Justice Hickinbottom announced his rulings on Monday - over the telephone.

The judge had heard evidence at a High Court hearing in Birmingham a few weeks ago - but was sitting in London on Monday when he was due to deliver his ruling.

He had been scheduled to announce decisions from a courtroom at the Royal Courts of Justice in London to a courtroom at the Birmingham Civil Justice Centre, where lawyers and parties involved were due to gather, via a video link.

But court staff in London ran into difficulties when the video link failed to connect.

A member of staff at the court in London resorted to ringing a member of staff at a court in Birmingham before passing the handset to the judge, who announced his rulings down the line.

Press Association

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