West Law Report


Posted in Medical evidence, Westlaw Reports by mrkooenglish on May 2, 2008

Last updated: 4:13 PM BST 29/04/2008
Court of Appeal (Civil Division)

Arden, Wall and Wilson LJJ

April 15, 2008

Medical evidence – Priority needs – Vulnerable adults – Homelessness – Review of medical evidence – Findings of fact – s. 204 Housing Act 1996 – s. 189(1)(c) Housing Act 1996


The appellant local authority appealed against a judge’s decision allowing an appeal by the respondent (X) against a determination by the local authority that X was not in priority need for housing within the Housing Act 1996 s. 189(1)(c).

X had arrived in the United Kingdom following a long flight and was admitted to hospital with suspected deep vein thrombosis (DVT). X then applied for emergency housing. X submitted medical evidence in support of his application which showed that he had suffered DVT and that he had a history of Raynaud’s phenomenon. His application was rejected by the local authority in a decision letter by a senior reviews officer which reviewed the medical evidence and applied the test in R v Camden LBC Ex p Pereira [1999] 31 HLR 317 CA (Civ Div) and found that X could not reasonably be considered to be vulnerable due to his DVT. The officer further found that there had been no confirmed diagnosis of Raynaud’s disease.

On appeal the judge found that the officer had erred in her analysis of the medical evidence. The judge held that under s. 204 of the 1996 Act he was able to quash the local authority’s decision and make a declaration that X was in priority need for accommodation. The local authority submitted that the officer had taken into account the relevant medical evidence and had preferred the evidence of the local authority’s medical adviser and such matters of fact were for the local authority, and not the court, to determine.


Whether the judge’s approach to the question he had to decide was seriously flawed.

HELD (appeal allowed)

The judge’s approach to the question he had to decide was seriously flawed. He should have asked whether the decision reached by the officer that X was not in priority need for accommodation under s. 189(1)(c) was one which was properly open to her on the evidence before her. The judge was only able to quash the officer’s decision if it was Wednesbury unreasonable. The officer had weighed all the relevant evidence and had applied the correct test from Pereira, Pereira applied. The officer’s decision was one which was properly open to her on the evidence and was not Wednesbury unreasonable. Accordingly the judge had no power to interfere with it. His order was set aside.

David Lintott (instructed by Ashford, Exeter) for the appellant. There was no appearance or representation for the respondent.