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Council’s policy on families with no recourse to public funds is unlawful

Newham directed to reconsider its policy

The High Court has held in R (ota PO and Others) v London Borough of Newham [2014] EWHC 2561 (Admin) that the London Borough of Newham's policy on supporting families with no recourse to public funds is unlawful.

The claimants were three children who brought the proceedings via their mother. They challenged Newham's failure to assess their needs lawfully and its decision to provide only £50 per week to meet their and their mother's subsistence needs. This level of support was inadequate but Newham contended it was in accordance with its policy. The High Court held that the rates derived from child benefits were flawed and should not have been applied to the claimants. The High Court directed the local authority to reconsider the policy and to consider what back payments should be awarded to the claimants.

Shu Shin Luh of Garden Court Chambers (instructed by Coram Children's Legal Centre) represented the claimants. Bryan McGuire QC  of Cornerstone Barristers (instructed by Solicitors to the defendant) represented the defendant.

The judgment and a detailed summary by Sally Gore of Fenners Chambers are here.