The High Court has ruled that the Home Office’s failure to consider relaxing its affordability criteria, which was a barrier to it securing suitable asylum support accommodation for our client and her children, was unreasonable and unlawful.
O, an asylum seeker, and her two children were placed by the Home Office in a studio apartment for 14 months whilst her asylum claim was being determined. One of O’s children was severely autistic; he had no awareness of danger and required almost constant supervision to keep him safe. The accommodation posed a risk to his safety as O was unable to separate him from potentially dangerous items such as the cooker and kitchen utensils. The Home Office conceded that the accommodation was unsuitable for O and her children due to her autistic son’s needs, however it claimed that no affordable alternative accommodation could be found.
O was represented by GT Stewart’s Community Care department who successfully brought a judicial review challenge arguing that the Home Office’s continued failure to secure suitable accommodation was unlawful.
The judge held that the HO were acting unlawfully in failing to consider whether the best interests of the children required it to relax its affordability criteria given that this appeared to be the only barrier preventing suitable accommodation being provided to O and her children.
The judgement provides a vital exception to Home Office’s rigid adherence to the affordability criteria, particularly in instances where the clients have needs and vulnerabilities that must be considered.
Further information on the judgment can be found on the Free Movement website.