HOUSING: R (McKenzie) v Waltham Forest London Borough Council [2009] EWHC 1097 (Admin)

21 MAY 2009

(Queen's Bench Division (Admin); Belinda Bucknall QC sitting as a deputy judge of the High Court; 21 May 2009)

The pregnant homeless woman applied to the housing authority, and was housed in a hostel. The woman sought judicial review of the authority's decision, arguing that it was not reasonable to expect her to share a bathroom with men who not members of her household. After she made the application the authority provided the pregnant woman with the accommodation she sought. However, the pregnant woman wished to proceed with the application in order to obtain the court's guidance as to appropriate housing for pregnant women. The authority argued that the point was now academic, and ought not to be entertained.

Before the court could consider an academic point two conditions had to be satisfied: (i) there had to be a large number of cases in existence or anticipated on the same point; and (ii) the claim must involve resolution of a discrete issue that did not require detailed consideration of facts. Neither condition was satisfied in this case; the academic point in question would not be entertained.

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