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R (on the application of M) v HAMMERSMITH & FULHAM LONDON BOROUGH COUNCIL

In order to ensure effective and coordinated care by local authorities of homeless 16 and 17 year olds, it was necessary to have a joint protocol between the local housing authority and the children's services authority to assess needs and make sure that the most appropriate agency took responsibility. If the criteria in the Children Act 1989 were met, social services should take long term responsibility, and it could not avoid such responsibility by looking to the housing authority to accommodate the child.

4 March 2008

The appellant (M) appealed against a decision ((2006) EWCA Civ 917) that she had been properly accommodated by the housing department of the respondent local authority. At the age of 17, M had been excluded from the family home by her mother, who had been unable to cope with M’s rebellious behaviour and repeated offending. The local authority housing department had reluctantly agreed to provide her with bed and breakfast accommodation to satisfy an order from the court for a bail address. Two months later, she had been moved to a hostel, but had been evicted shortly afterwards for breaking the rules. She then became subject to various orders under the criminal justice system for which she required a settled address. She had been given local authority temporary accommodation for longer than 13 weeks. There had never been a referral to the local authority’s children’s services department. During a period in custody, she had applied for judicial review with the aim of securing su...

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