Rough Sleepers

January 21st, 2022

R (ZLL) v SoS (2022) EWHC 85 (Admin) concerns rough sleepers and the covid pandemic. The claimant alleged a breach of public law duty by adopting an unpublished position in non- conformity with previously published policy. In relation to this ground, Fordham J stated some relevant basic legal points including the following :-

(1) Local authorities cannot act beyond the scope and reach of their powers;

(2) There are contexts in which it is legally necessary for public authority powers to be circumscribed by means of the issuing of prescriptive policy guidance.

(3) Prescriptive policy guidance, which has been issued, May in law need to be published.

(4) Where there is relevant prescriptive policy guidance, there is a basic duty on the decision-maker to act in conformity with it, absent good reason for departing from it.

(5) Where there is relevant prescriptive policy guidance an affected individual has a basic entitlement to a decision under the applicable policy guidance.

(6) The application of the prescriptive policy guidance to an individual case is a question for the primary judgment of the decision maker, but interpretation of the policy guidance in principle engages a hard-edged question for judicial review.

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