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Obiter dictum

A statement or remark in a court's judgment that is not essential to the outcome of the case. Such statements are not binding, but may, however, be persuasive in later cases.

Occupier with basic protection

A type of occupier with only basic security of tenure, for example someone who lives in the same building as their landlord but does not share accommodation with them, or a non-secure tenant of a local authority.

Official Receiver

Officer of the court who is notified upon the making of a bankruptcy order and who has the duty to investigate the conduct and affairs of the bankrupt person. The Official Receiver may also act as the trustee of the bankruptcy.


Ombudsmen investigate complaints about Government bodies, local authorities and other organisations. There are a range of Ombudsmen each with their own area of responsibility, for example the Local Government Ombudsman investigates compliants about local authorities and the Housing Ombudsman Service investigates complaints about other providers of social housing (such as housing associations).

Oral hearing

An appeal hearing where the appellant and the local authority attend to explain the case in person, eg in an appeal against a homelessness decision.

Outreach team

Staff who are employed to make contact with people who are sleeping on the streets, and who offer services such as advice or practical assistance.


An amount of housing benefit (or other benefit) that has been paid to a claimant when it should not have been.