January 3rd, 2024 by James Goudie KC

In R ( BC )v SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL ( 2023 ) EWHC 3209 ( Admin ) a challenge succeeded to the  Council’s refusal to provide suitable accommodation under Section 20 ( 1 )  of the Children Act 1989 to a 17 year old child as a “ child in need “ within their area. Once the criteria under Section 20 are met, the duty is immediate and unqualified. The authority must accommodate the child.It cannot resist the duty because of lack of resources, or because it considers that provision can or should be made under some other power, or because some other authority or body, such as the local housing authority, can provide accommodation under a different legislative scheme. The child was without suitable accommodation; and his mother was “ prevented “ from providing him with suitable accommodation. The widest possible scope must be given to this provision. It makes no difference whether the reason is one which the carer has brought about by her own act or is one which she was resisting to the best of her ability.

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