Bubb v Wandsworth London Borough Council  EWCA Civ 1285
Housing – homelessness – provision of accommodation fact finding – county court’s jurisdiction – oral evidence
When a county court is hearing an appeal under s 204 of the Housing Act 1996, the court’s role is essentially the same as the judicial review court. Accordingly, the county court cannot make its own findings of fact in such circumstances.
9 November 2011
Court of Appeal
Lord Neuberger (MR); Jackson and Gross LJJ
On appeal from: HHJ Ellis, Croydon County Court
(i) Cassandra Bubb (B) appealed against a decision in the County Court that Wandsworth LBC (W) had discharged its duty under s 193(7) of the Housing Act 1996 to provide her with accommodation. W stated that it had sent a letter to B offering her accommodation; B stated that she had never received it. B eventually refused the accommodation that was offered to her on the basis that it was unsuitable. W stated that it had discharged its duty under the 1996 Act. B requested a review and argued that she had not received the letter and that the accommodation was unsuitable. The review officer concluded that she had received the letter and that the accommodation was suitable. B appealed to the county court. The appeal was dismissed and the judge held that the review officer was entitled to find as a fact that the letter had been received. B appealed to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that (1) the county court judge should have determined the relevant facts for himself; (2) that the judge should have heard oral evidence and (3) even adopting a classic judicial review approach, the judge’s conclusions were wrong.
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