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Akilah Robinson v Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council

Local housing authorities were not entitled to postpone the making of a decision as to whether they had a duty to provide accommodation to a 17-year-old child while they sought to reconcile the child with the family by mediation where the effect of the delay would be that the child would become 18 and, if the mediation failed, the child would no longer be in priority need.

4 August 2006

The appellant (R) appealed against a decision that she was not in priority need under the Housing Act 1996. R had been asked to leave home by her mother when she was 17. R presented herself to the respondent local housing authority as homeless. The local authority contacted the mother, who confirmed that R could not return home, but indicated that she would be willing to engage in mediation. A referral to mediation service form stated that R was not in priority need and that she would be provided with a three-week placement. R’s mother later refused mediation, and the day before R reached 18 years of age, the local authority decided that R was not in priority need. Written notification of that decision was given the following day. R sought review under s 202 of the 1996 Act, but the local authority confirmed its decision, stating that it was its policy not to proceed with such cases until mediation had been attempted. The county court dismissed R’s appeal on the basis that the d...

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