Court judgement welcomed

10 May 2011

Court of appeal

A Court of Appeal judgement calling on councils to take urgent steps to meet their legal obligations to homeless 16 and 17 year olds has been welcomed by Shelter. 

The judgement concludes a case brought against Lambeth Council by a young man known as ‘TG’ for failing to meet its legal obligation to provide him with ongoing care and support when he was a homeless teenager.

Shelter’s Children’s Legal Service intervened in the case with Pro Bono support from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

A ruling back in 2009 called on local authorities to make housing and social services work together to provide homeless teenagers with ongoing help beyond just housing support. 

But in its judgement, released on Friday 6 May, the Court of Appeal concluded that Lambeth Council had failed in its legal obligations to TG and had denied him ongoing care and support. Lord Justice Wilson said that the case should 'serve to advertise the need for all local authorities to take urgent steps to remedy any such failure.'

The Court referred to vital evidence from Shelter’s Children’s Legal Service of supporting homeless 16 and 17 year olds and of challenging authorities who have denied young people much-needed personal advice and support.

Welcoming the Court’s decision, Shelter’s chief executive, Campbell Robb, said: 'This judgement confirms once again the clear legal duty councils have to ensure that joint protocols are in place to properly assess homeless teenagers.

'Unfortunately many councils have still not put these procedures in place, meaning that a vulnerable homeless child was denied the proper care and support he needed and was entitled to.

'We hope this judgement acts as a clear signal to all councils to urgently put joint procedures in place so that no more children are let down by these failings.'