Good news for judicial review defendants - Wednesbury unreasonableness is still a high threshold to meet

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Are you a potential defendant to a judicial review challenge on the grounds of unreasonableness? If so, this case may offer you some additional peace of mind.

The High Court has recently held that the defendant local authority did not act unreasonably in seeking to house the Claimant and her children within a 60-minute journey of the Claimant's parents and the children's school.

The Claimant had been imprisoned in 2014 for a terrorist related offence. During her imprisonment, her children were cared for by her parents. Shortly after her release, the Claimant became intentionally homeless and her children came to the attention of the children's services team who agreed to provide assistance to the Claimant in finding suitable accommodation for her and her children.

The Defendant Council made two offers of accommodation which were rejected by the Claimant as being too far away from the Brent area, in which the Claimant's only support network was based. The Defendant justified the position on the basis that it considered that the Claimant was unlikely to find suitably sized, affordable accommodation in the Brent area given her financial means and that it was reasonable to offer accommodation options outside of the Brent area as the Claimant could stay in regular contact with her family by telephone, messaging or social media. The Defendant later made a further offer of accommodation which was also refused by the Claimant.

The Claimant's challenge evolved to be a general allegation that the Defendant had failed to make a reasonable offer of accommodation, that is, one located closer to the Claimant's parents and the children's school.

The judge agreed with the Defendant that, despite the difficult circumstances, it properly had regard to all relevant considerations therefore the argument of (Wednesbury) unreasonableness had not been met.

This is good news for you if you are a potential judicial review defendant as it is a reminder that judicial review claimants have a high threshold to meet when advancing an argument that a judicial review defendant has acted unreasonably.

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