Case number: CO/1809/2023
In the High Court of Justice
King’s Bench Division
13 June 2023
Richard Clayton KC sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge
The King on the application of
London Borough of Lambeth
On an application by the Claimant for anonymity, for expedition and for permission
Following consideration of the documents lodged by the Claimant
ORDER by Richard Clayton KC sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge
1(a). The identity of the Claimant as a party to these proceedings is protected and shall not be published.
1(b) Pursuant to CPR Rule 39.2(4), there shall not be disclosed in any report of these proceedings or other publication the name or address of the Claimant, or details (including other names, addresses, or a specific combination of facts) that could lead to the identification of LH as the Claimant in these proceedings. The Claimant shall be referred to as set out at paragraph 3 of this Order.
1(c) In any judgment or report of these proceedings, or other publication (by whatever medium) in relation thereto:
(i) The Claimant shall be referred to as “LH”
(ii) Any other details liable to lead to the identification of the Claimant shall be redacted before publication.
2(a) The Defendant shall file its Acknowledgement of Service no later than 72 hours after the service of this Order.
2(b) No later than 96 hours of the service of this Order, the papers shall be forwarded to a Judge to consider permission to apply for judicial review.
- Upon consideration of s 1 and s 2(1)(db) of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992, it appears that non-disclosure of the identity of the Claimant is necessary in order to protect the interests of the Claimant and that there is no sufficient countervailing public interest in disclosure.
2(a) This claim concerns the lawfulness of the Defendant’s arrangements for providing temporary accommodation to vulnerable women. The Claimant is homeless as a result of fleeing sexual violence and abuse,
and the Defendant has placed her in a mixed gender hostel where she is required to share facilities with unfamiliar men.
2(b) The Claimant’s case is that such accommodation is unsuitable for her, and for many other women in similar positions. The Defendant, she submits, is required to put in place arrangements for ensuring that survivors of gender-based violence are not placed in mixed-gender housing. Her grounds raise points of discrimination law as well as traditional public law issues.
2(c) This claim is very similar to an earlier judicial review brought against a different London local authority (R (FB) v Camden LBC, CO/3148/2019). Several of the grounds are the same. In those circumstances, the Claimant invites the Court to grant permission on the basis that it has already done so. However, the application for permission is refused so that the Defendant have the opportunity to file an Acknowledgement of Service no later 72 hours after the service of this Order. Thereafter and no later than 96 hours of the service of this Order, the papers shall be forwarded to a Judge to consider permission to apply for judicial review.
2(d) The Claimant currently resides at Tooting Bec Gardens, a council owned hostel, which accommodates both men and women with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The council describes it as a “large block with over 40 units”. There are unfamiliar men present in the building throughout the day and night. She finds living at Tooting Bec Gardens extremely difficult to reside there.
2(e) The day after she moved in, on 22 March 2023, an independent gender violence advocate (“IGVA”, Ms Maryam Syed) from the charity Refuge wrote to the Defendant to point out that Tooting Bec Gardens is “not safe or up to standard for any resident especially one who is fleeing gender-based violence”.
2(f) The following day, 23 March 2023, the Defendant’s Ms Murrin replied to the IGVA’s email asking for further information, and explained the Defendant’s temporary accommodation arrangements. The IGVA replied two hours later stating that “the nature of the accommodation is wholly inappropriate for a person who has been through the recent circumstances which [LH] found herself in. The idea of putting a young woman who has just escaped sexual violence in a large hostel with strange men everywhere she goes is utterly negligent, or at the very least, incredibly short-sighted. This is someone with complex and severe mental health issues who has been thrown in the first convenient space without any consideration as to how they got there”.
2(g) The IGVA ‘chased’ the Defendant for a response the following day, 24 March 2023. There was no reply, so she sent a further ‘chasing’ email on 29 March 2023.
2(h) Thereafter the Claimant instructed solicitors sent a pre-action protocol letter dated 3rd April, which gave the Defendant a deadline of a week later to respond on 10 April 2023 (albeit the letter focused on suitability of accommodation, but not discrimination). The Defendant did not respond.
2(i) On 12 May 2023 the claim was lodged. On 18 May 2023 the claim issued for service and on 25 May 2023 the Claimant certified service of the proceedings on the Defendant.
2(j) The Defendant has yet to respond to the Claimant’s solicitors.