Legal success for Street Legal in homelessness case

Date: 2nd August 2022
Category: Disability, Basic Health and Welfare

Illustration shows three children sitting at the dinner table as their dad serves them food.

Scotland’s highest civil court has upheld a challenge against Edinburgh Council’s refusal to accept a homeless application from a family with six children.

Street Legal is a partnership between Clan Childlaw and Shelter Scotland which provides frere legal help with housing and homelessness for children, young people and their families in Edinburgh.

The family involved in the case applied as homeless in 2015 but had then taken up permanent accommodation the council offered them. In 2020, the family was evicted by the council. They had nowhere to go and applied again as homeless. The council refused to consider the application saying the family’s situation had not changed and that they had already had help from the council.

The Court of Session (Inner House) decided that the council’s approach was wrong. It had a duty to accept the new application. The decision makes clear that councils cannot turn away someone who needs help with homelessness just because they have previously received help.

The decision is important as it comes from the highest civil court in Scotland – meaning future cases should follow this decision.