case digest

legal capacity to make an application


R -v- Oldham MBC ex parte Garlick [1993] AC 509; (1993) 25 HLR 319, HL
Applications were made on behalf of four year old children for accommodation, after the adults had been found intentionally homeless. The House of Lords held that a child dependent on an adult cannot make an application for accommodation under the homelessness part of the Housing Act (in England, Housing Act 1996 - in Scotland, Part II of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987). Parliament had intended dependent children to be the subject of applications by their carer. (GLC note: Of course, the entitlement of a non-dependent child - someone aged 16 or over - to apply is not in doubt; see also the Children (Scotland) Act 1995).

R -v- Tower Hamlets LBC ex parte Begum [1993] AC 509; (1993) 25 HLR 319; [1993] All ER 65, HL
An adult with a learning disability (aged 24) sought to make an application for accommodation as a homeless applicant, after other adult members of the family had been deemed intentionally homeless. This was rejected by the council upon the basis the applicant could not understand what an application for housing was. The House of Lords held that a council owed no duties to an adult lacking mental capacity. (GLC note - it may be that the introduction of the Human Rights Act 1998 from 2 October 2000 will result in a challenge here - for example, is this decision discriminatory in terms of the ECHR? If so, can it be justified?).