Priority need

Homelessness law has become more complex and gives local authorities wider discretion. In addition, with legal aid restrictions, it appears fewer challenges are being issued in the courts.

Priority need

The recent judgment of Hotak v London Borough of Southwark has changed the ‘Pereira’ test which has been used for many years. Following this new case law there have been few challenges before the courts, this has led to varied interpretations about vulnerability.

In 2014 social services duties and assessments changed due to the new Care Act, voluminous literature and guidance generates conflicting interpretations.

It can be hard to interpret and follow this niche area of law correctly, whilst also ensuring those who are vulnerable and in priority need ‘do not slip though the net’ and have ‘a roof over their head’.

Training focus

  • The definition/categories of priority need under the Housing Act 1996
  • The meaning of ‘vulnerable’ considering physical and mental health, drug/alcohol abuse and life experiences
  • The recent judgement of Hotak v London Borough of Southwark [2015] UKSC 30 and how this differs from the long-standing case of R v Camden LBC, Ex Parte Pereira [1998] 31 HLR 317
  • Reviews, appeals and judicial review
  • Accommodation pending review and/or appeal process
  • Potential challenges under Equality Act 2010 and Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Review Procedures) Regulations 1999 with ways to avoid this
  • Assessment under Care Act 2014 and duties of social services.

Training outcome

To have a full understanding of and applying the correct principles regarding priority need to ensure a correct decision is made.

Who will benefit from this course?

All staff working with those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Priority need

Kerry Bland

Kerry Bland Kerry Bland

Kerry Bland is a qualified solicitor having worked for ten years in the legal profession with legal aid. She recently left Shelter to become a consultant solicitor for Duncan Lewis Solicitors. She has become known for her extensive knowledge of anti-social behaviour, homelessness, drug/alcohol, mental health and capacity issues in relation to housing and social care matters. Throughout her career Kerry has maintained strong professional relationships with support agencies and probation who continue to make referrals to her on a regular basis.

training track record

HQN has a track record of helping organisations achieve real and lasting performance improvements. If you are interested in accessing this training package, please contact us by emailing