Permission granted in Covid-19 Homelessness Judicial Review
The High Court yesterday granted permission to bring judicial review proceedings in The Queen (On the Application of ZLL) v The London Borough of Camden. Joshua Hitchens acts for the Claimant instructed by Derek Bernardi of Camden Community Law Centre.
The case relates to the accommodation of homeless people during the pandemic and whether leaving the homeless on the streets during Covid-19 is automatically a breach of the rough sleeper’s rights under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Camden considers that the “Everyone In” programme instigated by central government in March 2020, requiring all those at risk of rough sleeping to be accommodated has come to an end. It asserts that only those who have Covid-19 or are symptomatic, those rough sleeping during heightened national restrictions or long term or repeat rough sleepers are entitled to be accommodated during this phase of the pandemic. The Claimant contends that the “Everyone In” scheme continues to be in operation and all those at risk of rough sleeping ought to be housed.
The Claimant argues that an alleged policy of requiring homeless people with NRPF to sleep on the street and be verified through a visit whilst sleeping rough is unlawful. The Claimant alleges that it can take up to three days for the verification process to take place and that in the meantime, the homeless applicant is required to sleep rough. The Claimant argues that this practice is irrational and that street homelessness during the pandemic shall necessarily cross the Article 3 threshold and that the local authority has a pre-emptive duty to act when an individual faces an imminent prospect of serious suffering caused or materially aggravated by denial of shelter, food, or the most basic necessities of life.¹
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Joshua Hitchens practises in all of Chambers’ specialisms. He is a member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Panel of Counsel and has acted in a number of high-profile public law matters. He is currently instructed in a Judicial Review Claim against the Secretary of State for Justice relating to the categorisation of a prisoner and a separate Human Rights Claim against a major police force. He was instructed in a national charity’s proposed intervention in the Supreme Court prorogation case, Miller v The Prime Minister. He also has advised on and drafted a number of statutory appeals to the High Court.
Barristers: Joshua Hitchens
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