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R (on the application of G) v SOUTHWARK LONDON BOROUGH COUNCIL

Where a child fulfilled all of the elements required by the Children Act 1989 s.20(1), the local authority was under a duty to provide him with accommodation under that section. It could not side-step that duty by claiming to have provided him with accommodation under the general duty in s.17(1).

26 May 2009

The appellant (G) appealed against a decision ((2008) EWCA Civ 877, (2009) 1 WLR 34) that the respondent local authority (S) was not under a duty to provide him with accommodation under the Children Act 1989 s.20(1). At the age of 17, G had presented himself to S's children's services department asking to be accommodated under s.20. He had moved out of the family home after falling out with his mother. S took the view that G's need for accommodation could be met under s.17 by arranging for him to be accommodated by the housing department under the homelessness provisions of the Housing Act 1996 Pt VII. G submitted that all the elements required by s.20(1) had been met, so that he "require[d] accommodation" within the meaning of that section, even if there was another way in which accommodation might be found for him. S argued that that was too simple an approach, and that in deciding whether a child "require[d] accommodation" under s.20(1) a local authority was entitled to take into...

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